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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 720..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

biosphere reserve. By now I hope that members and many other Canberrans are aware that UNESCO designates biosphere reserves under its man and the biosphere program and promotes these as learning laboratories for ecologically sustainable development. Biosphere reserves aim to foster sustainable economic and human development, preserve landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic resources, and support demonstration projects, environmental education and training, and research and monitoring for sustainable development.

The committee agreed on 10 April 2007 to advise the Assembly of important developments in its inquiry into the proposed ACT biosphere reserve nomination and to report on the committee's meeting from 27 to 29 March with various stakeholders in the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port biosphere reserve in Victoria. I also met with stakeholders in the Barkindji biosphere reserve in New South Wales on 29 March 2007. The committee wishes to place on the public record its appreciation for these meetings.

I would like to refer to important recent developments. The committee thanks the Australian government Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, the Hon. Jim Lloyd MP, for advising the committee in a letter dated 14 March 2007 that he supports in principle the proposed nomination of areas of the ACT as a biosphere reserve and for his offer of assistance from the National Capital Authority in developing the nomination. Whilst recognising that the details of the proposal need to be agreed between governments, Minister Lloyd described the proposed designation as "an aspirational statement about conservation and sustainability", while noting the need for expectations about governance of the reserve to be "realistic".

On 10 April 2007 the committee met with senior officials in the New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation and a representative of the World Conservation Union's Commission on Protected Areas. The committee was advised that the proposed ACT biosphere could deliver local, regional, national and international conservation benefits, as well as intergenerational benefits, and was a tangible response to climate change. The potential contribution of the proposed ACT biosphere to the Atherton to Alps wildlife corridor was welcomed.

On 13 February 2007 the committee wrote to the Australian government Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, suggesting that it was time for a national review of biosphere reserves in Australia. The committee referred the minister to the pressing challenge for promoting sustainable development under climate change, and the opportunities that biosphere reserves can provide for reconciling conservation and sustainable development; the desirability of Australia developing a national view to convey to the third world conference on biosphere reserves in Spain from 3 to 8 February 2008; and UNESCO's recommendation in 2003 that a national review be conducted. The minister had not responded by 10 April 2007.

It is apparent from the aims of biosphere reserves that research and education are important components. Biosphere reserves present significant opportunities for tertiary education and research institutions, their staff and students, and for their counterparts overseas. Private sector research and development companies could also


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