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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 3243..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

2006, as part of the changes I have foreshadowed. That section currently requires owner occupiers to provide written advice on what they know about asbestos in their property. It will ultimately be replaced with the provision of generic advice at key transaction points for homes built prior to 1985. However, as this section has already come into force and is consistent with an owner occupier's duty of care, the government feels that it should remain in place until further changes are made.

The asbestos provisions of the dangerous substances legislation were the first of their kind in Australia, and internationally, to place a requirement on residential property owners when managing asbestos. The report of the task force continued this groundbreaking work. The government remains committed to protecting the Canberra community as far as practical from the risk of exposure to asbestos and I look forward to further improving our asbestos regime following the excellent work of the asbestos task force.

Environment grants

DR FOSKEY: My question is directed to the Minister for the Environment. It concerns the ACT environment grants program.

Given that last year's environment grants allocation was fully expended and excess funds were rolled back into Environment ACT; that last Monday's announcement of the 2005-06 environment grants is for a total of $113,000 only; and that Environment ACT is itself dealing with an overall cut in funding for the year, could the minister please advise the Assembly of the full allocation for environment grants this year and assure us that those grant funds will be completely expended on community-based projects and not directed internally to assist Environment ACT cope with its overall cut in funding. Could the minister also assure us that there are no plans to discontinue this successful environmental grants program next year?

MR STANHOPE: I regret that I am not aware of the detail of amounts and payments in relation to the environment grants program. I know that the successful applicants, or grantees, very happily received the payments made to them for a broad range of projects. I think somewhere in the order of 14 or 15 successful recipients received their contracts and payments in the last few days at an event most capably hosted on my behalf by Mr Gentleman. I will have to take the detail of the question on notice and respond to the member. I am afraid I simply do not know the dollars and cents and the detail of the questions that were asked by Dr Foskey.

DR FOSKEY: I have a supplementary question. Hopefully, it will be answered or taken on notice. Does the government still support the public funding of peak non-government advocacy and policy organisations, such as the Environmental Defender's Office, or is the fact that 10 out of the 11 grants this week were clearly for practical applications or education on the environment a sign of things to come?

MR STANHOPE: I will take some advice on the issue. The selection process that was employed in relation to the environment grants program was a process based on merit. The applications were received and assessed against a set of criteria and decisions were made. In relation to the successful applications, they were applications that I approved. I approved them on the basis of recommendations that I received. They were not


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