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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

Page.. 2471..

(e) the recent changes to the ACT Government's administrative orders and the appointment of the sixth minister; and

(f) no move has been made to create the single nature conservation agency; and

(2) directs the ACT Government to establish a Nature Conservation Agency, located within Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, which will be responsible for all conservation services, before 31 December 2014.

I rise today to bring this issue to the attention of the Assembly once more. I am here to talk once again about the current structure of the ACT government when nature conservation functions remain divided between the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate and the now Environment and Planning Directorate. For something that we all seem to agree on, it seems bizarre that here we are again trying to work out why action has not yet been taken in this area.

A single nature conservation agency is about delivering an administrative structure that can deliver improved nature conservation outcomes through the integration of all parts of biodiversity policy and research. It is about providing the best structure to protect and manage our environment. We want the best resource and service delivery. We want coordination of policy and legal requirements. We want a single department that is on the same page when it comes to monitoring and reporting. Overall, what we all want, what we have already agreed on, is better environmental outcomes.

We have Territory and Municipal Services being the overarching directorate to the boards of management of Namadgi and Tidbinbilla and the Capital Woodlands and Wetlands Conversation Trust. TAMS also looks after rural lands and law enforcement, which relates to the nature conservation estate as well as the parks and conservation Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005, the Tree Protection Act 2005 and the Domestic Animals Act 2000.

Environment, on the other hand, looks after the planning and research in conservation, natural resource management programs, all nature conservation policy, including biodiversity planning, nature conservation and its strategy, and the threatened species action plan. The Environment and Planning Directorate looks after the Nature Conservation Act, the Conservator of Flora and Fauna and the secretariat to the Flora and Fauna Committee.

Frankly, it seems illogical to keep these responsibilities separate not just in different departments but under the leadership of different ministers. It is a bit like having nurses and doctors in a different directorate to the rest of Health or teachers in a separate area with a different minister for education. It is simply something that does not make sense, and we all seem to have agreed on this before.

The Canberra Liberals 2012 policy, which was released by Mrs Dunne, stated that we would, amongst other things, consolidate the nature conservation functions under one directorate. I refer to the media release at that time that stated:

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