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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2829..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

within the ACT. At no stage has my confidence been challenged. At no stage have I lost confidence that needs to be regained.

It is worth dwelling on the question of confidence in leadership and in leaders in the context of the absolute mess that the Liberal Party finds itself in. Three members of the opposition, when asked directly by the media, "Do you support your leader"-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Come to the subject, Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: It is relevant that Mr Mulcahy, Mrs Dunne and Mr Seselja refuse to answer, point blank refuse to answer. I answered. They point blank refuse to answer the question.

Opposition members interjecting-

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, resume your seat!

Bushfires-recovery

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Chief Minister. Will the minister provide a report on the progress of bushfire recovery works at Stromlo Forest Park?

MR STANHOPE: Ms MacDonald's question is an important one. As members are aware, prior to the 2001 and 2003 bushfires the Stromlo area, particularly the Stromlo pine forest, was a very important-perhaps the most important-recreation area for urban Canberra. I know that at that time the Department of Urban Services had estimated that up to one million visitations a year occurred to that area that we refer to broadly as the Stromlo Forest area. That is a very significant recreational asset that has been lost, albeit we hope temporarily. Bearing in mind that enormous usage and the extent to which the people of Canberra so enjoy the Stromlo pine forest area, the government has, as a central part of its bushfire recovery process that we have instituted, supported and worked very hard to re-establish a recreational forest park with a whole range of enhanced facilities within the Mount Stromlo area.

We have consulted very broadly on this with a whole range of stakeholder groups through displays at major shopping centres, and specific consultation with, for instance, orienteering groups, Canberra athletics, the cross-country club, off-road cyclists, equestrian groups and tourism as well as the community broadly. We have determined on a range of facilities to be reintroduced and enhanced at Mount Stromlo. The Mount Stromlo master plan now contains a comprehensive overview of recreational needs and possibilities within that area, taking account of the need for environmental site consideration and appropriate fire abatement measures.

The current program of plantings-and significant major plantings are proposed for Mount Stromlo to replace the pine forest destroyed-is occurring in two major areas. The first is an urban buffer area alongside Eucumbene Drive, Warragamba Avenue and Dixon Drive. Plantings commenced in June this year and have been substantially completed. They will be completed within the next few weeks. Eleven species of tree have been planted in that area, including a mix of eucalypts, conifers and deciduous trees. To date, 24,000 trees have been planted and there are still in the order of 5,000


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