Thursday 24 March 2005
Mr FINCH (Question) - Mr President, I have some questions on water for the Leader. Could he inform the Council on the progress in achieving the aims of the Water Management Act 1999? What progress has been made in developing a water management plan for Tasmania's 48 catchment areas? Do we now have a State policy on integrated catchment management? What progress has been made in determining minimum flow levels in rivers and streams under the 1999 act? Is the Government happy there has been sufficient public involvement in the development of water policies so far?
Mr AIRD - I thank the honourable member for his question. The Water Management Act 1999 commenced in January 2000. Section 301 of that act requires the Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment to report to Parliament on the operation of the act after five years. The minister will be meeting that requirement by providing a detailed report in late April or May this year. The report will cover the issues raised by the member for Rosevears in some detail, including progress on water management plans, establishing minimum flow levels in rivers and streams, and public involvement in the development of water policies.
I am hopeful that if the member is able to wait another few weeks he will be able to obtain a much more comprehensive answer to his question than any interim answer I would be able to provide today.
In regard to the issue of State policy on integrated catchment management, I can inform the member that there is no policy. A proposal to develop such a policy was reviewed several years ago and it was determined that greater benefits could be obtained by dealing with the natural resource management in a broader context. This has led to the development and implementation of the Natural Resource Management Act 2002. Under this act three regional natural resource management committees, made up principally of community representatives, have developed draft regional natural resource management strategies which are now being assessed for accreditation by the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments. Information on the committees and draft strategies are available from the web site, www.nrmtas.com.au .