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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1146..


MS PORTER (continuing):

Together they have contributed to the establishment of 20,462 plants, at the same time growing a community.

I have attended a number of Greening Australia's field days this year. This work has involved pruning pine wildings at Mount MacDonald. The removal of pine wildings is important as it helps restore the site to a native woodland and reduces competition for precious moisture and nutrients. Volunteers have planted 14,000 native trees, shrubs and grasses on Mount MacDonald. Despite the prevailing weather conditions, the survival rate is in excess of 75 per cent, a truly remarkable result.

On Mother's Day, I joined 400 volunteers in planting 2,000 trees on Narrabundah Hill, and last Sunday morning we planted another 1,300 natives on the lower Cotter catchment, another 120 volunteers being involved on that day. Hopefully this week there will be some more rain; there was rain after the Mother's Day event. We are looking for rain this week. That certainly helps the young plants get established. It is particularly satisfying to plant trees that you know you have helped propagate the year before. It is also important to recognise the work of the Rivers and Molonglo rural fire units who are on hand to help with watering the new plants.

I put on record here my appreciation of the efforts of all the volunteers, including the many families and young people, as well as those of us who are not so young. I thank the many businesses, the many community groups and the government departments that also regularly participate. I thank the hard-working staff of Greening Australia for organising the day so successfully. I also thank the cooks that give us the barbecues on a regular basis.

We can all wax lyrical about the need to protect our environment and how important trees are to our planet's health, especially in light of climate change. However, it is important, I believe, to get our hands dirty and put our words into action. I encourage all members who can go along next weekend, which is World Environment Day, to log onto the Greening Australia site and register. I unfortunately have prior commitment for my weekend-long mobile office at Belconnen Markets, which I hold regularly on the first weekend of the month. I am unable to join them, but I am hopeful that other members will put their shoulders to the shovel, as it were, and make a practical contribution on World Environment Day.

Budget estimates

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.47): The estimates process and the estimates committee are a valuable tool for both the government and the opposition. It is the opportunity for the government to defend its critical decisions in its annual budget. It is an opportunity for the opposition and the community to examine and evaluate these decisions.

An essential component in this process is to understand the context in which the budget is being considered. Clearly in this case context is important. That was acknowledged by Ted Quinlan, the former Treasurer in the Stanhope government, who stumped up on day one or day two every year when he was the Treasurer, to put his budget in context. For his first year as Treasurer in 2002, Mr Quinlan opened the batting on the very first day. Subsequent to that, in 2003, 2004 and 2005, the


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