Page 578 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

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Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.37): I thank Minister Vassarotti for her motion. In my previous role as minister for heritage, I had the pleasure of announcing the fossil emblem for the ACT, and the motion before the Assembly today seeks to formalise this new emblem.

The fossil emblem was chosen by the Canberra community. It is now up to us to ratify the community’s choice. The Batocara mitchelli was chosen by Canberrans to be their fossil emblem. This emblem will be an important reminder of our history. It is a reminder that we have been here for only a short time, and that our impact will be felt for centuries after we leave.

The ACT already has a mammal, floral and bird emblem, and these are symbols that represent our bush capital. However, we were not always the bush capital—430 million years ago, this area was under water; our fossil emblem tells us this. Our emblem embodies the concepts of deep time and geological scale representative of our region. It makes us all think about how old our landscape truly is and how much it has changed over time.

The ACT has a rich geological history, and our fossil emblem reflects this. Canberra is also home to one of Australia’s most significant fossil sites, at Woolshed Creek. This site was added to the ACT heritage list in 2017 and is accessible to the public.

During the emblem voting process and announcement, I had the great pleasure of talking to a number of passionate people about the fossil emblem. Many Canberrans are interested in our natural history and the history of our region. Today, I especially want to acknowledge Geoscience Australia and the scientists who are determined that the ACT should have a fossil emblem.

This little creature that was alive 430 million years ago is a reminder that science is really cool! I was delighted to be part of the process and hope that the committee will inquire into this matter. I commend the motion and the fossil emblem to the Assembly.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.39): It is my pleasure to rise to speak briefly to Ms Vassarotti’s motion. I, too, would like to thank Geoscience Australia, the Australian Marine Sciences Association and the Geological Society of Australia, ACT division, for approaching the ACT government proposing the adoption of a fossil emblem. As we have already heard, several other states have adopted a fossil emblem, and I think it would be great for the ACT to have one, to add to our existing territory emblems, which include the royal bluebell as our floral emblem, the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby, as our mammal emblem, and the gang-gang cockatoo as our faunal emblem.

I would like to flag that we support Ms Orr’s amendment, making this a request that it goes to the Standing Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity to inquire into and report on. I feel this is a much more appropriate procedural way of putting forward the motion. As such, we support Ms Orr’s amendment, and look forward to hearing the committee’s deliberations, whatever they may be, about the adoption of a fossil emblem for the ACT, whether it is the trilobite, which got the most number of votes in the public vote, or some other fossil emblem.

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