Page 191 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 26 February 2014

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I know that Senator Birmingham is keen to see that work occur, as am I. It will give us the evidence base we need to really tackle those hot spots when it comes to pollution and poor water quality across our urban waterways and will make a real and practical difference. I think it would be fair to say that this funding agreement marks a turning point in the way we manage our urban waterways and a turning point towards better water health for the ACT’s catchments.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, could you explain why this very welcome agreement has taken a number of years to sign with the federal government?

MR CORBELL: Yes, I can. Originally this funding was allocated for a basin priority project which was focused on reducing salt loads from the lower Molonglo water quality treatment facility. Salt is a by-product of treatment in those facilities and there was concern about the level of salt that was being discharged into the lower Molonglo at that time.

That funding was contingent on the development of a satisfactory business case. The business case developed between the two levels of government demonstrated that the cost-benefit analysis did not stack up. Both governments agreed not to proceed with that project, firstly, because the salt loads issue did not continue in a permanent manner and, secondly, the business case did not stack up.

Since that time the government has been in negotiations with the commonwealth to utilise this funding in other ways that will be to the benefit of water and the environment here in the ACT. The allocation of this funding has been contingent, firstly, on the finalisation of the Murray-Darling Basin agreement, which was settled last year, and, secondly, on the agreement of the new federal government. I am very pleased that the new federal government has honoured the commitments in this case made by the previous federal government. That certainly means that we are in a strong position now to proceed in a real partnership on this issue and improve water health here in the ACT.

Ms Gallagher: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

ACTION bus service—free services

MR RATTENBURY: Yesterday I was asked by Mr Coe and Mr Doszpot about travel on ACTION buses to Brumbies and GWS games. I would like to now provide some further information to that which I gave after question time yesterday.

After question time I noted that the Brumbies, Raiders and GWS pay for the chartered services to the games. In the case of GWS, they also pay for extended free travel on the network. I would like to clarify that by saying that it is actually territory venues and events within the Economic Development Directorate that charters ACTION to

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