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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 839..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I am very aware of the history of issues or measures that have been undertaken at Cooleman Ridge and the very keen interest of the residents of Chapman, Duffy west and other parts of Weston Creek in relation to Cooleman Ridge. It is a place in relation to which very significant community energy and resources have been applied to restoring aspects of the environment, and there is a very high level of community interest in the work that is undertaken. We have seen this over the last four years in relation to measures that have been pursued at different times, even in relation to attempts to reintroduce cattle to act as a more natural suppressor. Nevertheless, it is the view of ACT government authorities and officials that there is a need for bulldozed or graded fire trails, that there is a need from time to time for controlled burning, and that there is a need, most particularly on that exposed western edge, to ensure that we have in place measures that will guarantee the safety of Chapman and all residents of Weston Creek and that part of the ACT.

I think, Dr Foskey, it would be fair to suggest that it is not unusual in relation to consultation pursued by the government across the board to involve the proponent in the consultation. We see that in relation to our planning regime regularly. A proponent for a particular proposal will often be the agent that is required to initiate the consultation and to pursue an appropriate and valid consultation with affected residents. So I do not think it is unusual in the context of consultation and methodology within the ACT to involve a proponent in consultation. I understand the philosophical point that you are seeking to make, but I do not believe it is a disqualifier that a person or an organisation or a company that might be involved in undertaking particular work is the organisation that is required to ensure that the affected community is apprised of works that are proposed. I would have thought the issue was to ensure that the consultation was appropriate and full and genuine and that the responses received were treated accordingly.

I am, nevertheless, happy, Dr Foskey, to seek to get any additional information that may be available in relation to the consultation protocols that are in place and are pursued. I know how rigorously these are accepted by, particularly, all of our agencies involved in bushfire abatement, preparation and protection. We accept the importance, and pursue it rigorously, of consulting and involving the community because of their very personal interest, involvement and concern around the outcomes. I will provide, Dr Foskey, whatever additional information there may be that I have not covered in this answer.

DR FOSKEY: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. What arrangements are there for the consulting body to report on the consultation to the government, and which part of the government?

MR STANHOPE: I can answer the last part of the question, to the relevant and administrative agency in this place. It is TAMS. But I will have to take advice on the first part of your question, Dr Foskey, and respond to that.

Education-national curriculum

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education, Mr Barr. Minister, can you update the Assembly on the ACT's involvement in the development of the national curriculum?


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