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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 13 Hansard (11 November) . . Page.. 4870..

MS LE COUTEUR (continuing):

Let me get back to the actual amendments. I do not support Mr Coe's amendment, because in general it does not make any useful additions to what I said and it waters down the strength of the motion. It does not mention environmental issues such as the role of trees in the carbon cycle or make reference to wildlife and solar access. Also, importantly, it removes the reference to providing sufficient resources. As we all know, without sufficient resources it is not possible to do a job properly. That is probably one of the most important things that we are going to need to do to get this program working.

In terms of Mr Stanhope's amendment, I foreshadow that I will move an amendment. I have no problems with the things that Mr Stanhope is suggesting. It is an excellent idea if he wishes to formally refer the program to the commissioner for the environment. I also have no problem with paragraph (e) of his amendment, which states:

... trees that pose a significant risk to the public will continue to be pruned and, where necessary, removed.

I would like to make it clear that I do not have any problem with that. I foreshadow that I will be moving an amendment the intent of which is to agree to my motion and then add on to it Mr Stanhope's useful contribution of formally referring this program to the commissioner for the environment.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra-Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (4.46): I would like to speak to Mr Coe's amendment and clarify something in relation to that. What the government has done today is this. This is the issue and this is the point that I go to. What the Greens have done is refer the matter to the commissioner for investigation. They have come into this place and essentially moved a motion consistent with the referral to the commissioner.

Let us be a bit rigorous about this. For the sake of going forward, let us support-all of us-a reference to the commissioner. Let us ensure-because we are all wanting to support each other in this difficult issue, we have discovered today-that we refer all of the issues which Ms Le Couteur raises to the commissioner for rigorous assessment. Ms Le Couteur, I am not disagreeing with the sense of the issues you raise in your motion today. What I am saying is "Okay; let us have them assessed."Let us expose-shock, horror-the suggestions of Ms Le Couteur and the Greens to expert scrutiny and to community examination. Let us put your ideas to the commissioner. She will pursue a rigorous, professional inquiry, as she always does. She will engage closely with the community; she will have terms of reference which are essentially identical to your motion. I am not opposing your motion, Ms Le Couteur; I am essentially saying, "Let us have some rigour here. Let us take this through some steps. Let us get to an end point where we can all move forward."

I am agreeing in my amendment that the issues you raise today be submitted to the commissioner for investigation and report following detailed community consultation.

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