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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1789..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

budget initiatives. Those discussions are ongoing and subject to current budget considerations; so that is as helpful as I can be at this point in time.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what will you be doing to ensure that this part of the agreement is adhered to within the 89 days left until July 2009?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, the Greens parliamentary convenor and I meet weekly to discuss issues pertaining to the parliamentary agreement and, indeed, other matters as they arise. That is the channel where the communication occurs. Again, the budgetary implications of the parliamentary agreement are subject to budget consideration at this point.

Environment—grasslands

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water. Minister, last week in the Assembly you tabled the report on ACT lowland native grassland investigation, recently completed by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, which identified 11 grassland sites that are approaching critical thresholds for maintenance of native grasses and for which autumn burns in 2009 were identified as the best management option. Given that it is now autumn 2009, can the minister please inform members what action will be taken in the next two months to implement ecological burns to protect these grasslands and how many of the 11 identified sites will be burnt this autumn?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. The commissioner has made a broad range of recommendations, including the recommendations that Ms Hunter refers to in relation to ecological burns. The government is moving to respond to that report as quickly as possible.

Her most urgent recommendations were those relating to culling of abundant kangaroo species in a number of those grassland sites, and the government has already indicated how it proposes to address those matters. Matters relating to other recommendations, including ecological burns, will be considered by the government, and we anticipate responding as quickly as possible.

I cannot confirm yet whether it will be possible to undertake ecological burns in the period of time that Ms Hunter has indicated. That is a matter that is subject to discussions between my department and the land manager in the Department of Territory and Municipal Services.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Thank you. Minister, given that ecological burns are identified as a better management option to improve grassland diversity, I am wondering why it is that you are prepared to risk the health of grasslands and not to proceed with those burns this autumn.


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