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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1716..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

The government has also brought forward a number of other amendments to this amendment bill, some of which are supported by the opposition. We will be supporting amendments relating to the making of orders for compensation rather than orders for works. If someone causes damage in a nature reserve it may not be in the best interest of the nature reserve to have the person who caused the damage to come in and fix it up. It may be better for the authorities to say, "We'll take your money and fix it up ourselves."We support these amendments that have been brought forward by the government in the past couple of days.

The government has brought forward other amendments in the past couple of days which are broadly what I would describe as being inspired by the Gungahlin Drive extension fiasco which this government is overseeing at the moment. The Liberal opposition cannot support these amendments. The Liberal opposition has put on the record at every possible turn that we are supportive of building the Gungahlin Drive extension. We, in fact, believe that work should have commenced on 1 July 2002 and any of the delays that we are seeing now rest fairly and squarely with the inaction, and now, I would say, the incompetence, of this government.

Mr Wood has been in here this morning tabling amendments to the land act regulations and provisions, which we are supportive of. We are concerned that we have got to the situation where we need to be in the Supreme Court over this. We have some concerns about the decision made in the Supreme Court and the Liberal opposition supports the regulations made by the Minister for Planning introduced here today by the Manager of Government Business. But the Liberal opposition cannot support amendments 3 and 4 circulated by the government yesterday and the cobbled together changes that have been made today.

We are enormously supportive of the GDE. We have put our heads together and come up with what we believe is a very practical, well thought out solution to the problem of building the GDE, which is good law. But what the government is proposing here today is quite simply very bad law which, if we let the government get away with it, we will rue for many years to come.

This is not just about the GDE. What the government is proposing to do in their amendments is essentially to declare a whole range of people to be exempt from needing a licence to undertake destructive activities in Canberra Nature Park and in reserves across the ACT. It does not relate to the GDE: it relates to any proposal for works in Canberra Nature Park, the Murrumbidgee River corridor reserves, Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve-any area that is under reserve.

When the Liberal opposition ruled out supporting this amendment yesterday, the government came back and said, "Would you like to fix it up?"I said, "Well, no, actually, it is such bad law that I can't work out where I would start to fix it up."We had a bit of discussion this morning and the government has come back with a countermeasure that looks to be an improvement but, really, when it comes to the crunch, it is bad law.

The government is proposing to create for the minister the power to declare that a whole range of people may act under the Nature Conservation Act without licences. They have


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