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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . .

Page.. 3545..


I also pay special tribute to the staff and students at Weetangera Primary School, who hosted the event and were also involved in giving a very warm and welcoming reception to all the attendees. Also deserving of thanks is Mr Peter Eveille, who provided the ode on the day, as well as Mrs Catherine Savage, who did a wonderful job playing the bugle. As I have just said, students from Weetangera Primary School were in attendance and laid wreaths on the day. I know that the sub-branch is very grateful for the assistance of Mr James Barrett, the principal of Weetangera Primary School, who kindly accommodated the plaque dedication ceremony inside the school when rain prevented the dedication occurring outside.

I again thank the Belconnen RSL sub-branch for the plaque dedication and all they do supporting veterans in our community. I encourage all members to take the time to visit the plaque. For more information on the Belconnen RSL sub-branch, I encourage members to get in touch with the sub-branch at www.actrsl.org.au/sub-branch.htm.

Mulligans Flat woodland sanctuary

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.23): I would like to talk this afternoon about a tour I went on recently of Mulligans Flat woodlands where I went to see the bettongs. The bettong is a small marsupial which had been virtually extinct on mainland Australia. On 11 September I went with a group of people on a guided twilight walking tour of Mulligans Flat, which is open to community members. You can book on the website if you would like to have a look firsthand at the bettongs. It takes about two hours for a guided tour where you spotlight for native animals and try and catch a glimpse of them. There are bettongs and also nocturnal animals in their natural habitat.

The bettong was one of the first 10 mammals under the federal threatened species strategy that the federal Minister for the Environment, Mr Greg Hunt MP, identified for priority action to win the battle against extinction. The eastern bettong is a woodland-dwelling rabbit sized kangaroo. A unique characteristic of the bettong is its ability to carry its nesting materials using its tail. Bettongs build densely woven nests from dry grasses and bark under fallen timber or among small bushes and tussocks. By night they roam widely in search of food, such as native truffles and other tubers. Unfortunately, foxes, land clearing, livestock grazing and the introduction of rabbits drove them almost to extinction and until recently they were only found in Tasmania.

In 2011, 23 bettongs were brought to the Tidbinbilla nature reserve to begin a captive breeding program. The first of the Tidbinbilla bettongs were released into the Mulligans Flat reserve in autumn 2012. The breeding appears to be going quite well and the numbers are increasing. The fencing around Mulligans Flat reserve keeps out predators and regular monitoring of the colony takes place with the ANU and a group of committed volunteers and friends.

Gregory Andrews, who was appointed the federal Threatened Species Commissioner, has outlined that the bettong is one of the mammals that are the focus of the national threatened species strategy action plan 2015-16, with 20 mammals in total for the 2020 plan. The Capital Woodland and Wetlands Conservation Trust was established to ensure the Mulligans Flat woodland sanctuary and the Jerrabomberra wetlands


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