Page 1997 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

The ACT Planning Strategy 2018, like its predecessor, seeks to protect biodiversity. Ensuring that future generations can also benefit from this biodiversity is something that is front of mind when we are planning for Canberra’s future, and the planning strategy guides how Canberra will grow and change into the future. It sets a clear and compelling vision for Canberra to be a sustainable, competitive and equitable city that respects Canberra as a city in the landscape and as the national capital, while being responsive to the future and resilient to change.

Conserving our biodiversity, including the protection of threatened species and ecosystems, is an important element of our planning. For example, the environmental offsets program has continued to grow since its inception some 10 years ago, and we now have 23 offset sites across the ACT, encompassing more than 2,300 hectares of land. Of these sites, 16 have been included in nature reserves. This has resulted in the enhanced protection, in perpetuity, of threatened species and communities, including the superb parrot, golden sun moth, pink-tailed worm-lizard, grassland earless dragon, button wrinklewort, natural temperate grassland and box gum grassy woodland. Offset sites are being managed by strategic grazing of stock and kangaroos, woodland enhancement, relocations for breeding of significant species, and intensive invasive plant management programs.

In 2020-21, $6.2 million was allocated to managing new and ongoing offset areas, including over $500,000 for the important annual monitoring program. Taking environmental considerations into account at the earliest stages of planning processes for urban areas means that we can protect our most significant areas and species, and this is done through the strategic assessments. Three such assessments are part of the planning process for Gungahlin, the Molonglo Valley and west Belconnen. Strategic assessments are an early broad-scale consideration of potential environmental impacts. They have involved both assessment and approval under the commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the EPBC Act.

They have resulted in the identification of land for biodiversity protection, to offset the impacts of our urban development, and this has involved giving statutory effect by adding a nature reserve overlay over the areas needing protection. For example, Territory Plan 379 establishes a 160-hectare nature reserve, Nadjung Mada nature reserve at Kenny. Nadjung Mada assists with the conservation of the nationally threatened yellow box gum and grassy woodland community, an important habitat for the vulnerable striped legless lizard. A key feature of this reserve is its mature hollow-bearing trees. A similar process occurred last year for the protection of over 20 hectares of land at the Franklin grasslands, Budjan Galindji, which is now undergoing significant planning and on-ground work to protect the threatened Ginninderra peppercress, golden sun moth, Perunga grasshopper, striped legless lizard and natural temperate grassland.

I was very pleased, in the last term of the Assembly, to expand the Molonglo River reserve, an area that spans 23 kilometres from Scrivener Dam to the confluence with the Murrumbidgee River. It is an area of 1,280 hectares and is home to the endangered pink-tailed worm-lizard, superb parrot and box gum grassy woodland habitat. In 2019 I expanded the Molonglo River reserve by approving a variation of the Territory Plan.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video