Page 2000 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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get some really beautiful recreational spaces, some micro forests and some sporting areas that we can use well. I am looking forward to seeing that roll out over the next couple of years.

I like to do a bit of planting on the weekends, and I have joined quite a lot of the local Landcare groups in Ginninderra in particular, in Aranda, Cook, Emu Creek in Belconnen, and Black Mountain, and around and about. I am still at the hole-digging end of my career. I have not yet confidently learned to identify a native grass from a weed, so they do not let me near the important tools, but I am trying to learn more and be a bit more helpful as I go.

I have done a bit of advocacy work on quite a few other environmental areas. It is not because I know about these issues or because I have any kind of expertise here—I know a little about climate change and a little about recycling, and I am learning about biodiversity and land management—but people come to me. Other people have the expertise, and that is how this job works. It has been really good that people have sought me out and made sure that I am taking their voices forward on the western edge and Bluetts Block and a lot of those really important areas. They have spoken to me about the crematorium down south and whether or not we need it and even on the Tarago incinerator, across our border, which could have really significant environmental impacts here. They have spoken about some of our local issues, like drones and the impacts that those can have on our wildlife. I have managed to get involved in all of those. If nothing else, being a good conduit for information is a useful role.

I really appreciate all the citizen scientists we have in Canberra. I think we are spoiled for choice for citizen scientists and for local community people who are so intimately aware of their surroundings. They know the area so well and they have been watching the wildlife and the birdlife, year on year, for so long. These are the people who will tell us what is going on and will tell us how to fix it. The wildlife carers, the frog watchers and the Canberra ornithologists are all doing such marvellous work. Please keep finding us—keep finding me—and telling us how we can help.

As a government, we are trying to hold ourselves to certain standards to help. We have targets—about 70 per cent of new development within our existing footprint. The Greens have gone further; we want 80 per cent within our existing footprint. We think it is really important that we recognise habitat loss as one of the biggest threats, and that urban sprawl is one of the biggest causes of our extinction crisis. Minister Vassarotti has explained all this really well—I will not go through it again—but we cannot ignore those big issues whilst we are working on our immediate problems. It is great to take a moment to pause and reflect on these issues. I support the motion today.

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (5.18): I thank Minister Vassarotti for her motion and her commitment to biological diversity in the ACT. Canberra’s thousands of green spaces provide us with a sense of wellbeing—a place to exercise, enjoy fresh air and meet other members of the community. The International Day for Biological Diversity is an opportunity to reflect on what is being done by the government and the community to protect this city’s great liveability by maintaining and growing a thriving urban forest.

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