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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2712..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

The other environmental initiative, which is making a virtue out of necessity, is that we have to spend $100,000 on an artificial breeding environment for the corroboree frog because, on the previous environment minister's watch, we burnt down the national park. We did not so much destroy the sphagnum bogs as set them back so far that we put in even more danger one of the most endangered species in the country. The northern corroboree frog was on the brink of extinction because, on the watch of Jon Stanhope, we burnt down the national park. We jeopardised the future of the sphagnum bogs in the top of Namadgi National Park which not only provide the breeding ground for these endangered species but also are the sources of much of the high quality water that we have come to appreciate and value in the ACT. Here we are in this budget trumpeting the fact that we have to spend $100,000 to create an artificial breeding environment because the sphagnum bogs are beggared for many years to come.

As I have said, the budget contains environment initiatives that show some potential. I think the idea of having the land managers together is a very good one. It means that if you do it smart, you will be able to do things like improving weed control and improving hazard reduction. Let us not have any of the pious claptrap that we hear from Dr Foskey. Hazard reduction, hazard reduction burning and fire trails are important. You will never get an argument from me as long as you do it smart, as long as you do it diligently and as long as you do not forget the lessons that we learnt in 2003, because for years before that—and it was a failing on our watch and on previous watches—there was not enough done about hazard reduction.

Part of that was because every time a fire trail was built the green organisations came out and bleated about it. There was no support from the Labor Party when they bleated about it. They still do it, but you will not get an argument from me. Fire trails are important. Hazard reduction is important. Whether it is raking things away, mowing things or burning strategically, these things all have to happen. But I doubt whether there is enough money in this budget to do those things, and, if we do not, we will pay the price of our negligence once again.

This is the most important message that this minister should take out of this speech: get it right. By all means coordinate your organisation and make it work smart and together, but do not skimp on the money. Do not skimp on the bread-and-butter basic programs. Forget about the frills. If you have to cut, do not build the blessed cat fence. Look after your fire trails, look after the weeds and manage that which you have. Make sure that you look after the pigs and the feral animals and things like that. I honestly wonder why we bothered to have a debate about a cat containment zone if you are going to go out and build a fence for the very purpose of protecting the thing that you put in the cat containment zone. It could be considered belt and braces; I consider it a waste.

MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Burke): I call Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (9.13): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker—

Mr Hargreaves: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker!

MR SMYTH: Mrs Temporary Deputy Speaker—


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