TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Planning.
Can the minister inform the house about recent action the Brumby Labor
government has taken to secure water supply for the Geelong region?
J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) — I thank Ms Tierney for her question
and her interest in the issue of water, and particularly water supply in the
Geelong region, because it is a critical issue and one that I know she is very
conscious of and has been very eager to see resolved.
I am pleased to advise the house that
recently I gave approval to amendment C44 to the Surf Coast planning scheme. C44
is a very important amendment because it will facilitate the Anglesea borefield
project. For those in the chamber who may not be aware of the detail of this, I
am happy to provide them with it. The Anglesea borefield project will extract up
to 7000 megalitres of groundwater per year from the Lower Eastern View Formation
aquifer, and it will ensure the reliability of water supply to the Geelong
region. Given climate change and the prolonged dry period we are going through,
it is important that we secure water supply for populated areas like Greater
Geelong. This is all part of the central region sustainable water strategy that
this government has been well and truly keen to see enacted.
It is very important because there are a number of related
conditions that are worth recognising.
I am requiring Barwon Water, which is the proponent of this
project, to make sure it prepares a groundwater monitoring regime, a
construction and environment management and mitigation plan and a native
vegetation offset plan. These are all critical qualifications to the securing of
this water, and all of these plans must be approved by the Department of
Sustainability and Environment before the project can commence. This is part of
the overall process by which Barwon Water will receive a bulk entitlement, but
what is important about that bulk entitlement to extract groundwater under the
Water Act 1989 is that that bulk entitlement will specify the parameters for the
volume and the timing of the extractions as well as the requirements to monitor
the performance of the aquifer.
All these conditions ensure that whilst the water is being
extracted it is monitored and accounted for and that we put in place very strong
and stringent environmental conditions.
It is expected that the project will commence in spring 2009,
and it is another example of the Brumby Labor government taking action to secure
the future of Victoria and making sure that the regions as well as Melbourne are
even better places to live, work and raise a family.
Ordered that answer be considered next day on motion of Mr
VOGELS (Western Victoria).