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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3665..


MR RATTENBURY (continuing):

In the budget debate this year, I raised concerns that the government had not allocated funding for our recreational management plan for our parks and reserves. I do think this is important as, where there is potential for conflict, we need to bring groups together and get some clear guidelines on how we will proceed. There is no benefit to the park for groups to be at odds with each other, and much to be gained by groups that collectively value the park to understand where each other is coming from.

We have already seen a potential conflict over the orienteering event that was held at Namadgi at Easter this year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government for responding to conservationist concerns, however, and undertaking an independent scientific assessment of the impact of that event so that we could evaluate at least the short-term impact on the park. As such, when I get a chance to go through the plan of management in detail, I am hoping to see some clarity about how it is planned to deal with large-scale recreational events, because the Assembly inquiry recommended that a table providing an indicative guide to events should be reinstated into the final management plan.

After a quick flick through since the Chief Minister tabled it, I have noticed that on page 215, schedule 3, there is a table of sorts but I note that one of the interesting parts of it is that the original version proposed a cap of 600 people in some locations for a particular event, as a way of minimising the ecological impact on sensitive sites. Of course, one of the arguments was that 600 was somewhat of an arbitrary figure. I have some sympathy for that point of view but I think there was also an importance in saying that there was a cap of some description.

Certainly, at first look, the new table does not seem to address that point. I will be keen to undertake some further discussions with the minister and the department, once we have had a chance to look at this in some more detail. So I think it is important that the capacity of the major sites in Namadgi that can be used for large-scale events is understood. Then we are able to determine for each site what the capacity is and provide guidelines for those who wish to hold events, because it is the protection of sites that should sit at the heart of a decision about whether or not an event should go ahead. I look forward, as I said, to some further discussion with the minister and his department once I have had a chance to go through this in some detail.

In summary, though, the Greens welcome the tabling of this long-overdue plan. We hope it signals an opportunity to resolve in a constructive way some of the issues that have been difficult for Namadgi and we look forward to contributing to those conversations.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Paper

Ms Gallagher presented the following paper:

Gene Technology Act, pursuant to subsection 136A(3)—Operations of the Gene Technology Regulator—Quarterly report—1 January to 31 March 2010, dated 19 May 2010.


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