Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 8 Hansard (10 August) . .
Ordered that executive business be called on.
Appropriation Bill 2016-2017
Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2016-2017
Estimates 2016-2017—Select Committee report
Estimates 2016-2017—Select Committee—government response]
Debate resumed from 9 August 2016.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: I remind members that in debating order of the day No 1, executive business, they may also address their remarks to executive business order of the day No 2, the Assembly business order of the day relating to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2016-2017 and the government's response.
Environment and Planning Directorate—Schedule 1, Part 1.9
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (7.32): I am pleased to speak today in the budget debate about the Environment and Planning Directorate and also the Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment.
Firstly, I would like to speak a bit about weeds funding. Last year in estimates hearings, the Conservation Council ACT Region appeared before the committee and expressed its concerns about the 2015-16 ACT budget reduction in the weeds management program, especially considering the absence of any scientific evidence to support the reduction. In answer to a question on notice from July 2016, Minister Gentleman said:
The invasive weeds budget for 2016/17 is $2,185,259. This is made up of $1,685,259 of recurrent funding and $500,000 of one off initiative funding.
Stakeholders have told me that they feel the amount allocated to weeds in this year's budget is not adequate and they have had difficulty working out where different bits of the weeds funding may be in the budget papers.
In estimates hearings on 1 July, senior directorate officials outlined that African lovegrass and blackberry will be prioritised as the most high priority weeds for control in our protected areas. Members here may recall that back in November 2015 I had a motion in the Assembly about weed management and spoke about African lovegrass and the adverse impacts on the environment of inadequate weed management. Weeds in the urban, suburban and rural areas of the ACT are becoming more and more of a problem, including African lovegrass, blackberry, serrated tussock and Madagascan fireweed, amongst others. Constituents have raised their concerns with me about the
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