Page 3008 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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ensure that people can get access to the information they need and that we continue to make sure the system works efficiently for the Canberra community.

This budget provides important investments across our city, from ongoing skills funding to new initiatives to support our community facilities, and I am very pleased to support this part of the budget today.

At 6.30 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate was made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment was put.


Volunteers—citizen scientists

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (6.31): I rise to quickly speak about the fact that one of the ways Canberra is great, and is getting even better, is the opportunity people have to get involved in citizen science, because our bushlands are so accessible across the whole city. If any of you know any nature enthusiasts, I encourage you to let them know about some of our programs so that they can get involved. It is a good, shared activity for families or a valuable way for retired people to stay active and contribute to the ACT’s environmental health at the same time.

As environment minister, I have been able to see firsthand what some of these programs are working on. August was Platypus Month and I was able to go out with my colleague Jo Clay on a platypus survey. Sadly, we did not see any, but during one of the arranged events on Queanbeyan River during the week I did have a sighting. They are delightful to watch in Tidbinbilla too, nosing around in the water.

Tomorrow night I will be doing a frog survey at Dickson Wetlands. It is great fun to try to zero in on all the different frog calls. I am probably not the only one who especially loves the call of the Banjo frog, that lovely resonant bonk sound. Next month is Aussie Bird Count, which I am told is one of Australia’s biggest events for citizen scientists. All it involves is spending 20 minutes outdoors, counting and hopefully identifying birds that you see, and sending in the results. Almost anyone could do this, no matter their level of mobility or experience.

Also in the birding world, the ACT government is supporting the ANU’s Difficult Bird Research Group. They are asking for the community to look for gang-gang feathers which can be contributed to their genetic analysis of the species. Honestly, I do not think the gang-gang should be classed as a difficult bird. I actually think it is the rock star of the bird world. But maybe it is a teenager going through a phase.

On a more serious note, the more scientists know about endangered species like the gang-gang, the more helpful it is to our efforts to conserve them and build their numbers. I suspect getting involved in citizen science could become quite addictive. It gives people new ways of looking at our beautiful bushland and nature parks around the capital. It gets them out in the fresh air and helps them build community and connection with the precious natural systems that we live within.

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