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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3299

Mr UREN —Mr Speaker, I seek the indulgence of the House to add to a reply to a question asked during Question Time.

Mr SPEAKER —I will grant the Minister the indulgence.

Mr UREN —During Question Time the honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock) asked me about the risk of pollution of the Murrumbidgee River as a result of an unstable tailings dam at the Cowarra Mine on the Bredbo River in New South Wales . I indicate to the honourable member that the Department of Territories and Local Government has been concerned about the risk of pollution of the Murrumbidgee River as a result of the situation at the Cowarra Dam. Representatives of my Department met with New South Wales authorities on 8 June to discuss ways of solving the problem. On 29 June the Department wrote to the New South Wales State Pollution Control Commission expressing concern about the extent of the risk and indicating the need for urgent remedial works. On 7 September I wrote to the Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory informing the Committee that the New South Wales authorities had advised my Department that funds were being sought from the New South Wales Government for interim remedial works and that, subject to their availability, the work will be carried out in late 1983. This afternoon I sought details on the current situation. It is my understanding that funds for the remedial works have been provided in the New South Wales Budget but that these works have not yet been carried out. I am concerned about the potential threat to water quality in the Murrumbidgee River and will bring this matter to the attention of the Minister for Mineral Resources in New South Wales.