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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3140..


MR CORNWELL (continuing):

koalas would not adapt well to the species of eucalypts present at Tidbinbilla. Apparently koalas are very sensitive to the types of oils in various eucalypts and those on Kangaroo Island have different types of oils to the ones here.

What studies have you undertaken into the feasibility of importing koalas from Kangaroo Island and, for that matter, elsewhere? Are these concerns about the eucalyptus oils justified?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, as members are aware, during the January 2003 bushfires 21 of the 22 koalas who were then resident in the Tidbinbilla Valley were killed. One koala of the 22 survived and was named Lucky.

Since the fire, significant work has been done on reviewing the future of the Tidbinbilla-

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order: could I ask you to invoke standing order 42 and ask the Chief Minister to address the chair.

MR SPEAKER: Address your comment through the chair, Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: I am, Mr Chair; I always do.

Mr Speaker, one of the 22 koalas survived. Since then, we've been undertaking significant studies; we've developed a master plan and are in the process of continuing to do that. One of the decisions that is yet to be taken, amongst a range of decisions that have been taken, in relation to Tidbinbilla is a determination to restore some of those facilities that did make it iconic and particularly popular, not just for the people of the ACT but, indeed, for many people that visit the ACT.

We are proposing to restore a koala enclosure at Tidbinbilla, just as we've proposed to restore a brush-tailed wallaby breeding facility and program at Tidbinbilla, along, of course, with the corroboree frog breeding program that has already been established at Tidbinbilla and which has to date been particularly successful-and I touch wood and hope for its continuation.

At this stage decisions around the sourcing of the koalas have not been finalised. A decision has been taken that we will rebuild the enclosure. Work has commenced on that. Discussions have commenced, I am advised, with officers of New South Wales parks and officials from South Australia around the availability of koalas from those two sources.

Of course there are issues in relation to the sourcing of koalas, I think from any destination-a whole range of issues in relation to quarantine, disease control, diet and even genetics. It is quite possible, of course, that there are genetic differences between koalas from different places. Those issues need to be taken into account. All of those issues will, of course, be taken into account.

Let me assure Mr Cornwell-and I admire your sensitivity to the needs of koalas-that we will not import into Tidbinbilla koalas that we don't have the capacity to feed or to keep alive. We won't do that. Let me assure you of that. If, at the end of the day, South


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