Page 1999 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (5.12): I am really, really pleased to stand up and speak in support of Minister Vassarotti’s motion today and to echo the comments made by everyone in here. 22 May was the International Day of Biological Diversity, and it is great that we can stop and have a think about that. As Minister Vassarotti pointed out, it was a fairly important day for the environment here in Australia, for unrelated reasons. It coincided with World Environment Day, which was last Sunday, 5 June.

This year’s theme for World Environment Day was “Only one earth”. It is a great theme. Unfortunately, it was the same slogan that we had for the 1972 Stockholm conference, 50 years ago. I was at the same dinner as Ms Lawder—the World Environment Day dinner with the Conservation Council—and the people at our table were saying that we were probably having the same conversations 50 years ago that we were having at that dinner. Things have changed; we are making progress on some fronts, but there is still so much work to do, and it is good to recognise both the challenges and the opportunities.

I am really excited about these themes and these days, and I am pleased to have an opportunity to chat to so many people in the community about the environment and climate change. That dinner was particularly exciting for me. I got to catch up with a lot of old friends who I used to work with in the recycling sector, and a lot of climate activists who I have done a lot of work with, and I got to hear all their news. I got to catch up with a lot of the community groups, the Conservation Council, and a lot of the land managers and the people who are out on the ground doing really good work. It was nice to hear about what is going on and to find out how I can help. That is one of the joys of this job. It is sometimes a hard job, but it is a real honour and a privilege that there are some things I can do in my day-to-day work to help these causes and to help the people who are working on them. It is just a delight.

Because it is such a joy to be able to do them, I would like to share some of the things I have been really pleased to do in this job, on theme. I was pleased to introduce a motion—and to see it passed—to get the right to a healthy environment here in the ACT, and I am pleased that Minister Cheyne has taken that work forward. That is very exciting for a lot of people in the ACT and all around the country.

I have had a lot of fun working with local groups that are establishing community gardens, like Frances’s in Hawker. It is great to see those projects come through. It is frustrating to hear how difficult our bureaucratic system makes it for people like that, who have so much energy and passion, and I am hoping we can make that a bit simpler. It is great to work with some of the micro forests that we are seeing pop up. We have seen a lot of work by the Climate Factory and Edwina on that front. She is good at activating people. I was pleased to see the Holt micro forest coming up; I have been pleased to support quite a lot of the micro forests. It is great to see that local grassroots action turn into actual grass roots. It is great.

I was pleased to pass a motion on dryland ovals. I am excited that that fits into government work that is going to reshape what we do with those dryland ovals. There are a lot of community groups that are keen to see those unirrigated fields get reformed and turned into something really useful. From that, I think we are going to

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