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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2871..


Gungahlin Drive extension

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, my question is also to Mr Wood, in relation to the offer from the RSPCA to put wildlife carers at the site of the building of the Gungahlin Drive extension, and the fact that qualified volunteer carers have offered to do that. They would work with the contractor to ensure that they were not in any way offending the safety requirements of the site. Given that, for example, in New South Wales with the Parramatta rail link it was a requirement of the contract to allow wildlife carers onto the site and given that it seems, from credible sources, that government officers are not able to be there all the time, why is it that you will not accept this generous offer of the RSPCA?

MR WOOD: There are certainly safety issues on the site. It is an industrial site; there is activity; and quite clearly there are occupational health and safety issues that we need to take into account. That is an issue I just cannot walk away from. I think the measures we have set in place are very strong. I might say that the degree of care for the little animals is much in excess of anything that has happened before. My office has been in extensive communication with the RSPCA, although I have not spoken directly to them.

Further to that-I will deviate for a minute, at the risk of incurring someone's wrath-they have asked if we could see that the measures we put in place could be incorporated into future construction contracts of a similar nature, where there is timber and other growth. That indicates to me some measure of acceptance of what we are proposing and specifically the way we are doing that work.

I will talk further with officers about the ramifications of people actually being on site. We are very nervous about it. You tell me it applies elsewhere and I accept that. I would like to check out provisions elsewhere to see what happens. I will have further talks about it for Ms Tucker to see if something might be done. I have to say that, thus far, there have been a number of animals-gliders and the like-that have been noticed there. It is an area we want to take care with but it is not an area teeming with wildlife. There is bird life aplenty and, on the ground, an amount of wildlife but it is not abundant. I suppose I will have to start to define what I mean by "abundant". To come back to the point, Ms Tucker, let me talk some more about it.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, can you tell the Assembly what hours the government officers who are doing this work are there? Are they there whenever there are trees being cut down?

MR WOOD: To my knowledge they go ahead of things and indicate where there might be things, and they keep a very close watch on it. I do not believe they are there all the working day, but I will check out the precise times they are on site.

Water-Canberra supply

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister tell the Assembly what steps the government has taken to determine the most appropriate way to meet the territory's future water storage need and how important the assessment of engineering and scientific advice is in this process?


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