I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Water and the River Murray on the subject of greywater compliance on the River Murray.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK:Honourable members may be aware that at the height of the drought working groups were established to look at grey water systems for houseboats for the River Murray, which led to the production of the 'Code of Practice for vessel and facility management (marine and inland waters)', in particular the grey water section for inland waters. A number of different stakeholders had different roles on a working group, including the EPA, which was to develop checklists and certificates for slipway operators, reporting systems, issue authorisations to slipway operators involved in a trial and provide ongoing support to slipway operators involved in a trial. My questions for the minister are:
1.Can he provide a status update on this particular program and, in particular, the number of staff from the EPA who are still involved?
2.Are there any compliance matters that may have been detected within the last two years?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:26 :05 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. As honourable members will know, I have commented in this place previously about our greywater programs on the River Murray. Largely, they are to do with upgrading the pumping stations and refurbishing the holding tanks. We have been doing that progressively over a period of 24 months, I understand, and we are about to come to the end of that refurbishment program. In terms of the EPA's program for audits, I do not have that information presently before me, but I will seek that out and bring back that information for the honourable member.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:37 ): Whilst I am on my feet, I might address a couple of comments to the question asked by the Hon. Michelle Lensink about the EPA's houseboat audits. I have got some advice I can offer her now. The EPA recently completed a number of houseboat inspections for black and greywater management in the River Murray region.
Greywater is predominantly waste from the kitchens, laundries and bathrooms of houseboats. A code of practice for vessel and facility management requires that all vessels operating on marine and inland water contain or treat any greywater that is produced on board and, in the past six years since the EPA first implemented the vessels program, compliance levels have reached around 80 per cent, I am advised, for both commercial and private houseboats.
The recent houseboat greywater management inspections took place in Renmark involving 62 private vessels. I am advised that most people are doing the right thing. For those vessels that weren't compliant, the EPA is working with those to make sure they satisfy the code of practice. If the Hon. Michelle Lensink would like a breakdown of those numbers I am happy to bring that back for her. She also asked a question about the number of EPA staff involved in that audit, and I'll come back with that information at a later time.
2 December 2015
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) has received this advise:
1. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is using audits of privately owned vessels to assess and encourage compliance with the "Code of Practice for vessel and facility management (marine and inland waters)" (Code of Practice). The latest audit was at Renmark in May 2015 and involved five EPA officers, who were assisted by an Authorised Officer from the Renmark-Paringa Council. An officer from Goulburn-Murray water, involved with managing houseboats on Lake Eildon in Victoria, was also present to learn from the audit procedures that the South Australian (SA) EPA is using.
The EPA currently has one full time officer allocated to its non-licensed compliance work in the 'Murraylands' region, which includes the work on vessel greywater. This officer is supported, at need, by officers from the investigations, legal, science and management areas of the EPA.
2. Of the privately owned vessels audited at Renmark on 27 and 28 May 2015, 16% were found to be non-compliant, with others assessed as having a 'pending' status"