Page 4697 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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ACT and Region Catchment Management Coordination Group—annual report 2016-17

Paper and statement by minister

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (3.34): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Water Resources Act, pursuant to subsection 67D(3)—ACT and Region Catchment Management Coordination Group—Annual report 2016-17.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR GENTLEMAN: I am pleased to table the 2016-17 annual report for the ACT and Region Catchment Management Coordination Group. On 4 August 2015 the ACT Legislative Assembly amended the Water Resources Act 2007 and established the coordination group as a statutory body. This is the second annual report detailing the progress of the coordination group. The ACT lies within New South Wales borders, yet we know water has no boundaries. It is essential that we take a regional approach to managing our catchments. The coordination group has demonstrated its commitment to achieving governance across multiple jurisdictions. It is undoubtedly an effective tool for facilitating a collaborative approach to natural resource management and regional forward planning.

During this reporting period the coordination group has met five times. Meetings have been hosted by members of the coordination group throughout the region on a rotating basis. This has helped build a spirit of collaboration and gain a better understanding of the issues across our shared catchment region. I have met with the chair, Professor Ian Falconer, several times this year to receive a progress report on the implementation of the catchment strategy. No formal recommendations were made by the coordination group during the reporting period.

The annual report details the progress on implementation of the catchment’s strategy implementation plan. To date, six of the 19 actions contained within the catchment strategy are underway and have made notable progress. This is a commendable achievement, since the strategy was only agreed by government in August 2016. It is evident that the change is taking place at a faster rate than predicted, increasing the potential for temperature rises, rainfall variation and more extreme climate events such as bushfire and flooding as climate change increases temperatures.

In light of these unavoidable changes, emergency response preparedness is critical to being a resilient region. The coordination group has made significant progress on drafting a regional post-emergency recovery framework, which considers the causes and threats to our catchment, and the steps needed to recover in the event of a major disaster occurring. This plan will be ready for stakeholder consultation in early 2018.

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