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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 1995) . . Page.. 1426 ..


The Commonwealth certainly was quite opposed. On the other hand, Queensland was very supportive of this proposal and indicated strong support for us, privately and publicly, at that meeting. Mr Speaker, since the legislation was announced by me last week New South Wales has been in touch with us, asking for details of how our legislation will work. I would be very surprised if any jurisdiction would be prepared to stand aside from this process altogether. I accept the argument that this is not the whole answer to our problems, but we must draw the line in the sand if we are going to be sure of being able to stop these kinds of practices going on by oil companies in this jurisdiction. We are seen as an easy target by them. We must make it clear to them that we are not an easy target.

Landcare and Parkcare Groups

MS HORODNY: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning, Mr Humphries. Landcare and Parkcare groups in the ACT provide many hundreds of hours of invaluable volunteer labour to care for and improve the natural environment in Canberra. There is no question that the work they do is increasingly needed, although there has not been a parallel increase in resources made available to them by the Government. Does the Government have any plans to increase the resources available for training volunteers in Landcare and Parkcare groups?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, Ms Horodny says there has been no increase in resources for Landcare or Parkcare groups. There has not been a decision made by this Government about funding for those groups. I am not saying that we are not going to fund them; I am saying that we have made no decision. The grants which I had the privilege of handing over on World Environment Day a few months ago were the grants allocated in the 1994-95 budget. We have not had an opportunity to be able to make a decision about grants for 1995-96 as yet. I will indicate, however, that we are very supportive of those groups. I indicated, when I presented those cheques to those groups on World Environment Day, that the Government views their activities within the Canberra region as vitally important. It has been estimated that the cost to the Government directly of providing paid employees to do the work that those groups do would be well in excess of $1m in a given year. For us to have volunteers prepared to do that work, for no better reason than the love of the environment that they share, is very gratifying indeed. We will continue to support their work, as appropriate.

Mr Speaker, the Government's policy on volunteering is very clear. We believe that our community cannot survive without a strong policy of support for volunteering. We will continue to provide that support, and a number of measures are under way to do just that. In respect of volunteering generally, I am very happy to provide Ms Horodny with further information about that in due course. It is very clear, I think, Mr Speaker, that we are prepared to continue to support those sorts of efforts on the part of volunteers in this field, and in any other field where benefit to the community flows from their efforts.


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