Page 577 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

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government, selected five locally relevant fossils as potential emblems that represent the characteristics of the ACT’s rich geological history.

One of the interesting things about these fossil emblem nominations is that they were all marine fossils; in other words, these are animals that all lived underwater. This shows how vastly different Canberra was in the long distant past.

During September and October 2020, the ACT community embraced the proposal to adopt a fossil emblem. The public was asked to vote on the five nominations, and 1,135 votes were cast. On 21 October 2020, my colleague Mr Gentleman and the Chief Scientist from Geoscience Australia, Dr Steve Hill, announced the winner elected by the community. The winning fossil was the trilobite Batocara mitchelli, which gained 30 per cent of the votes cast. The winning specimen was found in a drill core from under the Treasury building in the parliamentary triangle in central Canberra. This trilobite fossil dates from the Silurian period, about 425 million years ago.

There are many people interested in the history of the Canberra region, including such deep-time fauna. By adopting a fossil emblem for the ACT, we embrace the diversity of our environment right back to its deep-time origins.

Giving consideration to a fossil emblem for the ACT is now timely and important in light of the public selection process that occurred in October 2020 and the interest that has been demonstrated by our community in our fossil history. The Standing Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity is well placed to provide the ACT government with further advice on the consideration and adoption of a fossil emblem for the ACT. I hope that it will consider this matter and give us advice about how to move forward.

Recognising that this is a request, and highlighting that an amendment will be moved to request the committee to do that, I look forward to hearing their views.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (11.36): I rise to speak on the motion and move the amendment that has been circulated in my name:

Omit paragraph (3), substitute:

“(3) requests the Standing Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity consider inquiring and reporting on the adoption of a fossil emblem, with due regard to the publicly voted fossil emblem, trilobite Batocara mitchelli.”.

The amendment changes the intent of the motion from calling on the committee to inquire into; instead, it requests the committee to inquire into. It is in accordance with the conventions of this place to ask committees to do things, rather than to tell them, so that they can manage their workflows. It is a minor amendment, I believe, in practice.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for

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