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Primary Industries and Water – Integrated Catchment Management

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Tags: Water, Primary Industries, Water Quality

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, you will be aware of the Greens' advocacy for scientifically grounded water management in Tasmania and our concern about the decline in river health. Integrated catchment management is increasingly being seen as the way of the future by experts, scientists and stakeholders, which means not only urban and rural water users; it is all combined in the one strategy and it includes land use.

The national water initiative is now also promoting a move to integrated catchment management. Is this something Tasmania is considering? Do you have your water policy adviser available, Mr Graham?

Ms PALMER - One moment please.

Ms O'CONNOR - I'm struggling to understand why it's taking so long to provide an answer.

Ms PALMER - I thank the member for the question and I'm going to refer that to the acting secretary.

Mr JACOBI - Thank you. Through the minister, we’d like to invite Catherine Murdoch to the table.

Ms MURDOCH - Through you minister, just some clarification on the question, and specifics with regard to that?

Ms O'CONNOR - Okay, as long as this doesn't count as another question, Chair. There is an increasing move amongst jurisdictions towards an integrated approach to the management of catchments and water. The national water initiative is now advocating for a move towards integrated catchment management. Here in Tasmania we have Hydro users, we have irrigation users, we've got TasWater. There's a whole range of users, and there's nothing integrated about catchment or water management in Tasmania. Is Tasmania moving towards integrated catchment management?

Ms MURDOCH - In Tasmania, as you've outlined, there's a lot of players, but under the Rural Water Use Strategy and the roundtable, excitingly for the first time, all of those water entities are actually working together. You'll see one of the outcomes, which is a pretty big outcome for Tasmania, in the first three roundtable meetings.

For the first time all the water entities - Tas Irrigation, Hydro, NRE Tas - have collectively agreed, and that's in writing in a score card, to produce the first statewide baseline water quality monitoring program.

We're collectively sharing data. The data establishment water group has been established under that. So, for the first time we will be collating all of our data, understanding what we're monitoring, and we'll be combining that to actually produce a water monitoring program for the state.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, so the answer to that question in short - and thank you for your time - is that there's no actual move towards integrated catchment management in Tasmania. I listened very closely to the list of entities that are contributing towards that work and I didn't hear TasWater mentioned in the list -

Ms MURDOCH - TasWater, I apologise, they are in that list.