Page 1995 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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Looking to the national and global stages again, global discussions are underway to negotiate a new global biodiversity framework ahead of the UN summit COP15 on biodiversity later this year. At the national level, I have strongly advocated for stronger environmental laws, through the once-in-a-decade review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act—the EPBC Act reform. The ACT government welcomes the new federal government’s commitment to provide a full response to the Samuel review of the EPBC Act, and to implement the key recommendation of creating an independent environment protection authority. I am looking forward to working collaboratively to ensure that we have strong national environmental standards to protect nature across the country and within this city.

I think 2022 is going to be a big year for biodiversity. In this context, it is important for all parties in the Assembly to reaffirm their commitment to protect, connect and restore biodiversity in our city, especially as we continue to develop our territory. Australia should be a leader in this space, and it is important that leadership starts at home, in our big, collective backyard of the bush capital. We have a lot to celebrate, but we also have a lot of work to do. We are doing the work, and today’s motion is both a celebration of that and a commitment to the work we need to do next.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.58): I support Minister Vassarotti’s motion today and I acknowledge the International Day of Biological Diversity and World Environment Day, which took place on 22 May and 5 June respectively. The International Day of Biological Diversity aims to increase an understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, and it involves all life forms, both plant and animal, that are found in any place or ecosystem.

As we are all increasingly aware, the overwhelming threat to biodiversity is human activity, but here in the ACT we are fortunate to have such a climate conscious community, such an environmentally conscious community. It is a community that is very much in favour of supporting our biodiversity in whatever way we can. I know that many people in this place take active steps to help promote and encourage biodiversity in their own neighbourhoods, in our community as a whole and on a wider scale.

Last Sunday, as we have already heard from Minister Vassarotti, was World Environment Day, which was another opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of our local environmental assets here in Canberra. At this point, I would like to specifically mention and acknowledge the great work—the tireless work—of many environmental volunteers here in the ACT. We are very grateful to have such a wide range of environmental groups and volunteers. They are active in preserving and promoting all of the environment in areas across the ACT, and we share them here on Ngunnawal land.

In a recent report conducted by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Sophie Lewis, it was estimated that the equivalent wage cost for environmental volunteering work in the ACT would be over $21.5 million per year. The community is benefiting because these volunteers are doing this important work on their own time and often using their own resources. They do it because protecting and preserving our local environment is a key belief, a key value, for them and their community. I note that the Standing Committee on Environment, Climate Change and

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