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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1467..


MR PRATT (continuing):

my senior adviser Tracey Lianos, who was married on Saturday to the indefatigable-and he will have to be-Matt. She was quite beautifully presented and, if you had seen the sweet Marilyn Monroe silver-blond curls, you would have been mightily impressed, given what we normally see around here, which is the out-of-control, spiky, blond, angry bush. She presented quite well.

Since Tracey has been in my office, she has been a real powerhouse and she has turned my chaotic operation into something almost effective and normal. Along with the quiet-as-a-mouse but solid anchor, Skye, who works in my office, and the other dynamo who sorts me out, Diana Bryant, Tracey has served my cause and that of the opposition well. We MLAs depend mightily on our staff. I wish Tracey and Matt a long and happy marriage.

The other point I want to raise is that I had a nice little trip last week out on the other side of the Cotter to have a look at the western approaches to Canberra-that track followed by the fire. I went with Robert Campbell and Robert Tanner.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Take any photographs?

MR PRATT: I did indeed. The families of those two gentlemen have been here since Canberra first began, so they are very experienced in land management. They really wanted to show me the state of the country, and they showed me two very different results. We were able to observe on the western banks of the Cotter the fact that the country had been burnt to the soil because there had not been sufficient fuel reduction management. The fire was so intense that it burned straight to the soil.

Both Roberts said to me that on the adjacent properties in that area there is no wildlife any more; the habitats have been totally burnt out. There is not even any bird life. Apparently, the birds are quite territorial and very fussy about where they go. So, when the fires were on, they flew back into the smoke and perished. In those 10 square kilometres that we were looking at we could not see a living thing. Indeed, weeds have taken over because weeds will thrive on that burnt to the soil level destruction but grass will not.

Yet on the eastern banks of the Cotter we were able to look across and see Tanner's property where, because he was grazing all the time, there has been a good rebirth of growth. When you travel to that side you do see bird life and you do see the habitats of animals. These two gentlemen were quietly angry about what had happened, and they wanted to point this out. It was a very instructive tour, to make those comparisons. I thank them both for opening my eyes to the problems we now have to deal with.

Gungahlin Drive extension

MS TUCKER (5.50): Yesterday in question time I asked the Chief Minister a question regarding the consultation process on the Gungahlin Drive extension. I asked him whether there had been a request for feedback from the Natural Resource Management Committee or the Flora and Fauna Committee. In his answer Mr Stanhope explained that he had received a letter that day from those two committees, which he said he assumed I had.


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