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Notice given 29 January 2007

2971  Senator Bartlett: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Environment and Water Resources—With reference to the Government’s water policy—

(1) In Australia, is the water that falls on a person’s roof the property of that person or the property of government.

(2) If it is not the property of the individual person, under what legislation in Australia are rights to water that falls on a person’s roof vested in governments, as claimed under clause 2 of the National Water Initiative (NWI) Agreement.

(3) Under clause 2 of the NWI Agreement, can governments, at their discretion, set entitlement regimes for the use of water that falls on a person’s roof in Australia; if so, under what circumstances would state or federal governments issue a specific entitlement to persons who capture water from their roof and what would that entitlement be.

(4) What magnitude of rainwater collected from roofs would be sufficient to warrant the issuing of specific entitlements to use this class of water as has been proposed by the National Water Commission.

(5) Does the Government rule out setting an entitlement regime for persons to use water collected from roofs in rainwater tanks; if so, will the Federal Government ask the state governments to amend the NWI Agreement to make clear that no rights to water that falls on a person’s roof are vested in governments.

(6) Is it correct that section 7 of the Victorian Water Act 1989 states, ‘The Crown has the right to the use, flow and control of all water in a waterway and all groundwater’; if so, is it the Commonwealth’s view that, for the purposes of the NWI, water from a person’s roof comes under this definition.

(7) Is it correct that section 392 of the New South Wales Water Management Act 2000 states, ‘the rights to the control, use and flow of … all water occurring naturally on or below the surface of the ground, are the State’s water rights ’; if so, does water from a person’s roof come under this definition.

(8) Is it correct that section 19 of the Queensland Water Act 2000 states, ‘All rights to the use, flow and control of all water in Queensland are vested in the State’, where: (a) ‘ water means… (a) water in a watercourse, lake or spring; (b) underground water; (c) overland flow water; (d) water that has been collected in a dam’; and (b) ‘ Overland flow water does not include … water collected from roofs for rainwater tanks’; if so, does water from a person’s roof come under this definition.

(9) Is it correct that section 124 of the South Australian Natural Resources Management Act 2004 states, ‘the occupier of land is entitled to take surface water from the land for any purpose’ and does surface water mean ‘water flowing over land’.

(10) Is surface water in South Australia: (a) water that is not captured and controlled; and (b) no-one’s property.

(11) Can water that falls on a person’s roof in South Australia be surface water.

 

 2972  Senator Conroy: To ask the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Why has the investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) of Telstra’s recent complaint about stories on the Today Tonight program taken more than 12 months to resolve.

(2) Is it acceptable that complaints about breaches of the commercial television code of conduct should take this long to reach a conclusion.

(3) Since the ACMA was established, what has been the average length of time for the authority to resolve complaints concerning the commercial television code of conduct.

(4) Is the Government or the ACMA taking steps to accelerate the resolution of complaints under codes of conduct registered with the ACMA.

(5) Will the Government commit to ensuring that all complaints are resolved within 3 months.