House debates

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Questions without Notice

Tuggerah Lakes

2:25 pm

Photo of Craig ThomsonCraig Thomson (Dobell, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, as you know I secured $20 million in government funding to clean up Tuggerah Lakes. Are you willing to permit further funding to ensure that the lakes are clean and this wonderful natural asset of ours continues to have the necessary environmental work done to continue the long term job of rehabilitating Tuggerah Lakes?

2:26 pm

Photo of Julia GillardJulia Gillard (Lalor, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Dobell for his question. I acknowledge that he has pursued this issue for a long period of time for his community and that he is very concerned about water quality in his local lakes at Tuggerah Lakes. I can also confirm, as the member has said in his question, that as part of our 2007 election commitments we did indicate that we would provide $20 million to improve water quality management. That was done and that project is currently being delivered by the Wyong Shire Council. It is being done in two stages: stage 1 of this project has been committed and, I think, probably completed; and stage 2 is on track for completion in 2013.

I do understand that the member and his local council want to see more work done on water quality in these lakes. I understand how deep this runs in his community because I know that of the work done so far close to 1,300 volunteers have been involved in this work and in like works around the country. That is a huge number of people who care very deeply about water quality. I can also say to the member that I am aware that Wyong Shire Council has applied for funding under the competitive grant rounds of the Caring for Our Country program. All applications submitted in that competitive grants round are assessed under the guidelines. They need to meet the criteria of eligibility and merit. That is a process that needs to be seen through, and seen through properly.

I can assure him that the application from his local community is in that process and will be properly considered. I know that he will continue, as local member, to argue the merits of this proposal, which is appropriate.