Page 1996 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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Biodiversity is currently undertaking an inquiry into environmental volunteerism. I am looking forward to their report, and I am sure they are also looking at the opportunities outlined in Dr Sophie Lewis’s report into environmental volunteering in the ACT.

These opportunities include improving accessibility to data on environmental volunteering; giving greater recognition to the contribution made by volunteers; ensuring the appropriate distribution of resources to volunteer programs and community organisations; increasing the transparency of government processes, including the allocation of funding and decisions made on project approval; and applying volunteer knowledge and data collected by citizen scientists to a greater extent to enhance environmental practices and government policy.

Recognising, measuring and celebrating the contribution that environmental volunteers make can be improved through some measures such as those outlined by Dr Lewis. We have so many great groups doing wonderful work—Landcare groups, catchment groups, Waterwatch and FrogWatch. There is so much going on, and I am sure we have all visited many of the areas around the ACT.

We spoke earlier today, in question time, about Mulligans Flat, and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where they are preserving and improving the population of the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby, which was, a couple of years ago, named the mammal emblem for the ACT. At Mulligans Flat we have the bettongs and the quolls and the bush stone-curlews, to name just a few, and we are looking forward, I think as Minister Vassarotti said, to the spotted-tailed quoll as well, in the future.

There is a lot more that can be done, but it is wonderful and reassuring that, through days such as the International Day for Biological Diversity and World Environment Day, we can recognise and support the work that is being done. On Saturday evening I was pleased to attend the Conservation Council World Environment Day dinner. World Environment Day has been taking place for 50 years. This year was the 50th anniversary. We spoke earlier this week about some of the work undertaken by their guest speaker, Professor Veena Sahajwalla, with her recycling work, including green ceramics, which use fabrics to get a unique texture and colour. We talked about that during the debate on Ms Orr’s motion on the textile circular economy. The Conservation Council is another organisation doing fantastic work in this space, and I commend it for its work. I once again thank Minister Vassarotti for bringing this motion to the Assembly today.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.04): I want to thank the Minister for the Environment for bringing this motion forward—it is an important motion—and to add to her remarks by outlining efforts in the planning and land management portfolio and what staff are doing to protect threatened species and to conserve and enhance biodiversity more broadly. The ACT planning system does not sit or operate in isolation. Environmental, economic and social drivers are considerations in the planning that we do. Planning calls upon numerous ACT government policies and initiatives that dovetail to protect biodiversity in the ACT.

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