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In August 2010, the Australian Government committed to a strategic study on the implementation of high speed rail (HSR) on the east coast of Australia. The Phase 1 report was launched on 4 August 2011, and identified corridors and station locations and potential patronage, as well as providing an indicative estimate of the cost to build an HSR network. The High Speed Rail Study Phase 2 report was released on 11 April 2013 and builds on the work of phase 1, but was considerably broader and deeper in objectives and scope, and refined many of the phase 1 estimates. Perspectives on the study include Is high speed rail in Australia value for money?, Boondoggle or best thing we’ll ever do? What to make of high speed rail and High Speed Rail Cost and Timeline – “laughable”.
This year Sydney Water celebrates its history, people and contributions to Sydney since 1888. In 1888, Sydney did not have adequate water and sewerage services and was at the mercy of limited water supply, droughts and sanitation problems causing serious health issues, including an outbreak of typhoid fever. Today, Sydney Water is Australia’s largest water utility and operates more than 21,000 kilometres of water pipes, 269 reservoirs, 24,000 kilometres of wastewater pipes and over 800 pumping stations.
The draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney sets out a new plan for the city’s future over the next two decades, with Sydney expected to have around 1.3 million additional people by 2031. You can play an important role in shaping Sydney’s future by having your say on these plans by 31 May 2013.
Commonwealth Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has announced in a media release that the western Sydney dry rainforest and moist woodland on shale will be protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Minister Burke said that the listing of this critically-endangered ecological community was vital to protect it from threats.
The Hawkesbury-Nepean River Recovery Program comprised seven projects and has improved river health in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River System in western Sydney by making more water available for the environment and reducing nutrient inputs. This major program’s achievements were formally recognised when it was named winner of two awards – winner of the government category at the 2012 savewater! awards® and winner of the program innovation category at the 2012 Australian Water Association NSW Branch Awards. A comprehensive final report will be published in 2013.
The NSW Government has commenced a detailed review of the flood management arrangements for the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley in western Sydney. In 2012 extensive flooding across south eastern Australia, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley, saw Warragamba Dam spill for the first time in 14 years. This has raised awareness about the impacts of flooding. In response, the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Management Review will consider flood planning, flood mitigation and flood response.
Five NSW funding rounds are open for applications in February-March 2013.
The final NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan has been released, setting a direction for transport in NSW for the next 20 years and covering all modes of transport and all regions of the state. The NSW Government has also announced Sydney’s Light Rail Future, with plans for light rail to be built through the Sydney CBD to Randwick and Kingsford to reduce congestion and revitalise the city.
In Australia we spend more than $500 million a year on bottled water, which is not only putting greater strain on the environment, it’s an expense we could easily avoid. Two innovative programs aim to promote the benefits of drinking tap water as part of a healthy lifestyle and as a positive alternative to bottled water:
The NSW Government has announced that from January 2014, new Local Land Services will deliver functions currently provided by 13 Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) across NSW. You are invited to Have your say on the proposed Local Land Services Regional Boundaries. The changes include the incorporation of the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority into the Hawkesbury Nepean CMA as part of creating the proposed new Greater Sydney Local Land Service.
© Bruce Boyes 2008-2013
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