Date:5.01 PM TUESDAY, 19 August 1997
Member:Edwards, Dr Judy
Page:4925 / 2

Second Reading

Resumed from 19 June.

DR EDWARDS (Maylands) [5.01 pm]: The Opposition supports this Bill, but signals some concerns. I am pleased that the Minister's response will accommodate some of the Opposition's concerns. In briefings the Bill was sold to the Opposition as pertaining only to the South West Irrigation Asset Co-operative Limited. Although the Bill solves the cooperative's problem it will have a much broader impact. It is a framework for all similar transfers that might be planned by the Government.

Hon Ken Travers, who is the opposition spokesperson for water resources, has been communicating with the Water Corporation and the Minister's office about the Opposition's concern that the Bill covers all other transfers that will inevitably occur down the track. Until an hour ago we were not aware that our concerns would be accommodated to any extent. The Opposition is concerned at the lack of accountability if the other transfers do not come into Parliament. I am pleased that the Minister for Water Resources will respond to the Opposition's concern and increase accountability. I do not know the detail of that as yet.

I will make some comments about irrigation and drainage schemes. Western Australia has at least five irrigation schemes. I am happy to be corrected by the Minister as the only information I could find was a couple of years old. The Ord irrigation scheme has now been handed over to what might be called private management with the formation of a cooperative of farmers who will take greater control of the management of the scheme. In March 1996 they signed a 12 month contract for the maintenance and operation of the Ord scheme. I would be interested to hear from the Minister what has happened in that time.

The Carnarvon irrigation scheme has also investigated the option of self-management. I recently visited the ill-fated Camballin irrigation scheme. In the 1950s Camballin was thought to be a worthy project, although in reality it has failed. It sits as a barrage across the Fitzroy River. The various pieces of infrastructure are simply rusting in the