The ACT Government will establish a new, dedicated Office for Water to support better water management in the ACT.
Establishing the Office for Water will bring together areas of Government that are involved in water management, providing a central point for coordination.
It will contribute to improved wellbeing in the domains of environment and climate, and governance and institutions. Coordinating all water elements across ACT Government, from policy to implementation, will simplify and enhance our approach to water-related issues.
The new Office for Water will deliver on initiatives to improve access to and understanding of water information and advance the interests and contributions of the Ngunnawal community. The 2022-23 ACT Budget has allocated $4.2 million over the next two years to establish this new office to strengthen our working arrangements to the best outcomes for waterways and the ACT community.
In addition to the Office for Water, the ACT Government is working with Icon Water to replace the non-potable water pipeline in Uriarra Village, to provide long-term water security for the community. This will provide major benefits to the Uriarra community, as well as increasing water supply for firefighting with the majority of the pipeline being built along fire trails from the Cotter precinct.
To further improve on protections to flood disaster, the ACT Government will also undertake flood inundation modelling over the next two years for higher risk parts of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Rivers. This will improve our preparedness and response to flooding events, increasing climate change resilience and assist emergency services in allocating resources in the event of significant rainfall.
The ACT Government will also be providing $722,000 in funding over two years to strengthen the ACT’s Environment Protection Authority, including additional resources to support compliance monitoring and regulatory oversight activities.
Quotes attributable to Chief Minister, Andrew Barr:
Our lakes and waterways in the ACT have always served a fundamental role in the function of our city, as well as the health and wellbeing of our community.
We remain committed to improving these systems to help cement the ACT as a leader on climate action in Australia and provide spaces for all Canberrans to be proud of.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water, Shane Rattenbury:
Establishing the Office for Water will provide a central coordination point for water issues, helping to improve strategic planning, waterway and catchment management and water sensitive urban design outcomes across our city.
How we manage water and waterways has a major impact on our community and we want to make sure we get it right. The Office for Water will help to deliver a holistic, coordinated and community-focused approach to water issues. This will be increasingly important as we respond to climate change, urban development and population growth into the future.
Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti:
I am proud that this Budget fulfils a parliamentary and governing agreement [PAGA] commitment to provide a holistic and coordinated approach to water programs and policy.
The ACT Government has also committed to a review of the Environment Protection Authority, so this Budget will assist us in developing a three-year action plan as well as putting more boots on the ground. The action plan will reform Environmental Protections in the ACT to deliver an enhanced and modernised framework.