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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3535..


MR STANHOPE: Well I am certainly not seeking to politicise the public service, Mr Stefaniak. We are seeking to undo the damage that you did in that regard, and that requires a pretty fair old effort. But I think we are just about there. No, I am not seeking to politicise the public service and I am certainly not seeking to-

Mr Humphries: So why is your position a public service position?

MR STANHOPE: Well, as I say, Mr Humphries, I did not place the ad. I did not proof the ad. I still have not read the ad. I have staff that actually handle those particular issues. Those matters are delegated and, as I understand it, the placement of the advertisement was done by the executive support staff connected to my-

Mr Humphries: Will you take the question on notice so I can find out?

MR STANHOPE: I have already said I would. I am just actually responding to the supplementary question. I said I would take it on notice and get the details, but that is my understanding. If there is some co-mixture of public service jargon or a public service heading to the ad, then I am sure that an officer somewhere, either in my office, the executive support unit or the Chief Minister's Department, at the moment is blushing.

Trees-removal

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services and relates to the recent investigation by the Commissioner for the Environment into the proposed development of a vacant block on the corner of Nettlefold Street and Coulter Drive in Belconnen. This block contains a stand of remnant yellow box and red gum trees, some of which are at least 300 years old. Twelve of these trees are regarded as significant under the tree protection legislation. One of these trees has been described by tree expert Robert Boden as the most outstanding yellow box tree in the ACT. He added that this tree "would come close to the top, if not the top, of a proposed significant tree register".

However, this block was sold off last year by the previous Liberal government for the building of a liquor market. The commissioner found that the development control plan prepared before the sale of the block took little account of the value of the trees. After lobbying by myself and members of the community, the control plan was tightened up but the proposed development would still require the removal of six of the significant trees and groundwork within the root area of five trees. The commissioner has expressed grave doubt about the long-term protection of those trees identified for attention because of the significant alteration of their surrounding landscape.

Minister, given there is still scope to stop or alter this development because approval for the tree removal has not been finally given and the commissioner found that all development options that would protect the trees had not been considered, what action will you or the Planning Minister take to ensure that these outstanding trees are not destroyed for the sake of a fairly insignificant development?

MR WOOD: Yes, there was some media coverage about that commissioner's report, which was taken up, I might say, by the Canberra Times and run without direct reference to the commissioner himself. So there were some reservations by the commissioner around the way that that was printed in the paper. That apart, the matter is obviously an


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