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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1505..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

environmental management. Can the minister detail for the Assembly the government's record of achievement on environmental issues.

MR STANHOPE: It is appropriate that we address the government's achievements in the environment. It is true that over the last 21/2 years there has been a range of very significant achievements and initiatives pursued by this government in protecting the natural environment of the ACT.

I could recite a list of very significant achievements of the ACT, starting perhaps with the decision to establish the first Office of Sustainability-the first commitment to sustainability in a formal sense by any government in Australia-immediately after coming to office. That has been a significant initiative. It has now been mirrored by other jurisdictions around Australia. But, once again, it is an area in which this government has led the way. It has shown the foresight and the commitment to issues around sustainability and sustainable development and the need for us to commit to sustainability and to the natural environment.

Immediately after coming to office, we also committed $1.5 million to establish a new focus for nature conservation-"A sustainable bush capital in the new millennium"program. This included additional ranger staff; comprehensive natural resource information management systems; tailored education and information programs for the community, through which we established and released last year a woodlands education kit, which has been particularly well received by schools throughout Australia; and a full review of the conservation priorities in the ACT, including the review of action plans progressively, including, most significantly and importantly, the action plan for box gum woodlands-the draft woodlands strategy, related to action plan 27, which was released and will be finalised in the very near future. It is a strategy that we, through the last budget, committed to implementing with an additional $1.6 million and the employment of additional woodlands rangers to ensure that it is appropriately implemented.

We have also provided over $1 million over three years for implementation of the bushfire fuel management plan; $2 million over three years to restore walking trails and repairing land in our nature reserves damaged in the fire; $250,000 to control weeds over the next three years in addition to the $250,000 for weeds post-fire; $300,000 over two years to work with existing networks of catchment groups and community service organisations in planning the restoration of the Murrumbidgee; and $200,000 for an environmental rural recovery program to protect streams and fence off areas subject to erosion and for revegetation. Also in the financial year 2003-04 the government, in collaboration with the community, planted over 100,000 trees to assist natural regeneration.

This is just some of the work we have done. We are also monitoring the natural systems impacted by the fire. We have released reports in relation to the impact of the fire on our natural eco-systems and the work we need to do to ensure that we assist to the extent that we can with that recovery process, acknowledging the enormous damage that the system has suffered.

We have established a captive husbandry program for the endangered northern corroboree frog, whose habitat was severely burnt. We have implemented a very good and innovative program to protect the frog. We have built a specialist facility for that at


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