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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 December 2016) . . Page.. 264 ..

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Steel for the supplementary question. No, it does not. You can have a technical amendment and development approvals relating to the same project. They can be out for community consultation at the same time, but it does not automatically imply that approval of the development application or the technical amendment is in place if the other one is approved. So either way can occur. The development application process and the technical amendment process are determined independently.

Environment—water quality

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage. Minister, can you update the Assembly on the progress of the healthy waterways project?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cheyne for her question. The ACT healthy waterways project, also known as the basin priority project, is, I am pleased to report, progressing very well. Healthy waterways is a $93.5 million joint initiative of the commonwealth government and the ACT government to protect and improve long-term water quality in the ACT and the Murrumbidgee river system.

The project will reduce the level of sediment and nutrients entering ACT lakes and waterways that, in turn, have a significant impact on the Murrumbidgee River and the broader Murray-Darling Basin. The project was endorsed by government in November 2015, and the commonwealth approved funding for stage 2 implementation, including construction of 25 priority water quality infrastructure projects, in May this year. The project is now in the implementation phase, I am pleased to say.

From the original list of over 500 sites, 188 projects were tested with the community in July 2015. In prioritising options, criteria such as water quality, performance, cost, amenity value, feasibility, and environmental and heritage values were taken into account and, finally, 25 sites were chosen. The sites chosen for stormwater quality improvement works are generally located in open spaces that in many cases include a range of existing uses: green space, which forms a stormwater drainage corridor, including if necessary to accommodate overland flow during a heavier rain event; a cycle-walking corridor; a utilities service corridor; green space separating residential precincts; and also open space for informal recreation activities.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, can you provide further detail to the Assembly on types of water quality improvement works that will be undertaken as part of the healthy waterways project?

MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, the final priority list of water quality treatments includes a mix of new wetlands, ponds, rain gardens, creek restoration, swales, cross-pollutant traps and the use of stormwater for irrigation. Twenty-five priority water quality projects will be constructed across the six catchments.

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