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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (18 September) . .

Page.. 2906..

this, consideration of access will be delivered through the activities declaration process. That declaration can be reviewed at any time but at least every three years.

Turning to licensing, the arrangements for licensing of actions related to plants and animals have been modernised. Many of the current arrangements for licensing are included in regulations and disallowable instruments. To aid clarity, much of this subsidiary regulation has been brought into the bill. The processes are not significantly different to those established previously but now mirror those of the Public Unleased Land Act 2013.

Finally, turning to offences and penalties, the majority of the offences within the bill are continued from the 1980 act. These have been reviewed and are consistent with comparable offences in other ACT law or with similar offences in other jurisdictions. The most serious offences within the bill relate to either clearing vegetation or damaging land in reserves. The penalties for these offences are on a sliding scale, depending on whether or not the offending action was intentional, reckless or negligent. The penalties also reflect the seriousness of the damage, with a higher level offence being applied to any clearing or damage which impacts on significant biodiversity assets.

As a result of the exposure draft consultation, a new clause has been added which allows the court to order the person to take specified action to publicise the contravention and its environmental consequences as well as any restoration action undertaken. This provides an alternative civil penalty in addition to the criminal sanctions within the bill.

To close, it is important to reiterate that the protection and management of biodiversity is fundamental to the achievement of a sustainable future. It is therefore timely to ensure that the Nature Conservation Bill reflects the range of contemporary methods available for monitoring and managing biodiversity while still maintaining traditional protections for species and ecosystems.

I would like to particularly thank all of the officers in the Environment and Planning Directorate who have worked for such a long and dedicated period on this bill. Their counsel and advice to the government and to me as the minister have been invaluable throughout, and I commend them for their efforts. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Lawder) adjourned to the next sitting.

Annual and financial reports 2013-14

Reference to standing committees

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (11.02): I move:


(1) the annual and financial reports for the calendar year 2014 and the financial year 2013-2014 presented to the Assembly pursuant to the Annual Reports

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