25 August 2020

Greens promise $30 million water infrastructure program

| Dominic Giannini
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Lake Burley Griffin

Water policy is front and centre of a new $33 million environment package announced by the Greens on Tuesday (25 August). Photos: Dominic Giannini.

A $30 million water infrastructure program and the creation of an ACT Water Office form part of the Greens $33 million environment election package.

The promise includes funding for new wetlands, rain gardens, ponds, swales and restoration projects for Canberra’s water catchments, and increased funding for weed removal across the city’s waterways.

A total of $800,000 over four years will be allocated to community catchment groups Waterwatch and Frogwatch, which look after the Upper Murrumbidgee and Ginninderra catchments respectively.

READ ALSO Water harvesting project to help turn Downer into green space

“We must respect our precious water and restore our beautiful waterways,” ACT Greens Environment spokesperson and Ginninderra candidate Jo Clay said.

“Canberra is experiencing the impacts of climate change. This means we will get more severe droughts and more frequent floods.

“We need to make sure our city is adapting to cope and we need to start looking after our natural resources.”

Jo Clay

ACT Greens environmental spokesperson Jo Clay says climate change is making droughts and floods more severe.

The ACT Water Office will be used to manage, report and take action on water quality in the ACT, and will be in charge of rolling out large-scale infrastructure programs such as the current Healthy Waterways project.

The Office will cost $200,000 a year over the next four years.

An inquiry into the state of the ACT’s lakes and waterways will be conducted by the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability while an Indigenous River and Catchment Rangers program will also be implemented.

READ ALSO Labor joins tree election battle with draft Urban Forest Strategy release

The program will allow rangers to work alongside the Indigenous community to manage water health and implement cultural and traditional knowledge into the Territory’s water management plans.

“Over a century ago, the founders of Canberra designed this city to have a reliable water supply. Yet poor urban planning and an outdated view that treats water as a waste product has led to murky, unhealthy and polluted aquatic environments,” ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said.

“The Greens are committed to protecting our environment and everything that depends on it. We need to treat water as part of the urban ecosystem, not separate from it.”

READ ALSO Canberra Liberals promise one million trees to save the bush capital

The announcement follows last month’s $53 million policy urban biodiversity and conservation plan as the Greens set up the environment as an election battleground.

The new environment package follows the Liberal-Labor tit-for-tat over tree policy in the ACT after the Opposition promised to plant one million trees across the Territory over the next decade.

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Mike Stelzig - Canberra Progressives for Yerrabi10:14 pm 27 Aug 20

It’s election year so that, of course, such promises are made. The Greens have had four years to do what’s right to save natural areas but they’ve gone full boar down the road of more and more unsustainable developments all over the Territory in cahoots with Labor. Lake Burley Griffin has developed its own unique ecology over the past 100 years and we need to stop developers getting their paws on this valuable infrastructure. If I wanted to live in New York, I’d move there.

Mike,
As a member of a so called “progressive” party, why are you so against change?

I should have also pointed out the irony of you talking about the unique ecology of a 50 year old (100yrs LOL) man made lake whilst complaining about development.

Wavepool anybody?

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