Page 3786 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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Fossil emblems are a relatively new idea. They are said to embody the concept of deep time and evolutionary transition, signifying the importance of understanding our natural history. They have been adopted across Australia in recent years, including in Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia and, most recently, Victoria. A fossil emblem will complement our existing faunal, floral and mammal emblems and will provide a connection to the natural geological history of the Australian Capital Territory.

I acknowledge the support of Geoscience Australia, the Australian Marine Sciences Association and the Geological Society of Australia in inspiring the ACT to select and propose a fossil emblem. With that, I propose that the Assembly agree to this motion this morning.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.50): I thank Mr Barr for bringing forth this motion today on the adoption of a fossil emblem for the ACT. I am very supportive of this motion and excited to see Batocara mitchelli adopted as the fossil emblem for the ACT. To determine the new fossil emblem a choice of five fossils went to a public vote, with 1,135 people casting a vote for their favourite fossil. With 30 per cent of the votes, Batocara mitchelli was the clear frontrunner. Batocara mitchelli originates from the group of marine arthropods, similar to scorpions and crabs, but became extinct about 250 million years ago. It is an iconic fossil of our region, and we welcome its adoption as the fossil emblem of the ACT.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.50): I too would like to offer my support for the adoption of the trilobite Batocara mitchelli as a fossil emblem of the ACT. I want to express my gratitude to the organisations mentioned by the Chief Minister who worked so diligently to identify and propose a fossil emblem for the Assembly’s consideration.

We have already heard about how the public voting system was conducted and the fact that in October 2020 Mr Gentleman announced the winner as the trilobite Batocara mitchelli. The winning specimen was found during the construction process of the John Gorton Building in Parkes. It is the most comment trilobite in the ACT.

We have heard that trilobites are one of the most popular fossil groups in our region’s fossil record. They are an extinct group of arthropods which is the same group as spiders, scorpions, insects and crustaceans. The specimen is currently on display in the public library of Geoscience Australia.

Our fossil emblem serves as a connection to the natural history of the ACT and the region. As noted, it joins our suite of emblems, including our mammal emblem, the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby; our faunal emblem, the gang-gang cockatoo; and our floral emblem, the royal bluebell.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 11.52 am to 2.00 pm.

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