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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3938..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

30 June 2005 is our target date to complete the set up and to move into ongoing management, we are already able to count a number of significant achievements.

The government intends to renew and redevelop the rural villages at Uriarra, Pierces Creek and Stromlo. We are continuing negotiations with the Commonwealth to resolve the Commonwealth-ACT land ownership at Stromlo in order to ensure that Stromlo village can proceed and residents can therefore return as soon as possible. We are also progressing amendments to the national capital plan for Uriarra and Pierces Creek. That will certainly involve further negotiations in relation to Pierces Creek.

In relation to the territory plan, the variations to enable the redevelopment of Uriarra and Stromlo went to public consultation in June. Further work will complete these important processes. I, together with displaced residents, await a speedy resolution. As part of the recovery program the ACT government is creating an international arboretum and gardens to the west of Lake Burley Griffin. Our goal is to create a place of outstanding and breathtaking beauty of international standard and interest, which is welcoming to locals and visitors alike. Excellence in design will help shape the arboretum's future as a major tourist destination, as a popular leisure spot and as a favourite place for civic, community and family functions. It would also be a valued resource and facility for science and education.

The government is also committed to re-establishing, with major enhancements, one of Canberra's best assets-Deeks Forest Park at Stromlo. The Deeks Forest Park recreation area will replace and enhance recreational facilities and any access lost or damaged by the fires. It will respond to the overwhelming feedback from the Canberra community regarding the importance of recreation and non-urban recreational space to the Canberra way of life and the wellbeing of its people.

The government is also committed to the renewal and redevelopment of the Cotter, ensuring that it remains one of Canberra's favourite family locations. We envisage a greatly enhanced visitor experience and propose developments such as commercial facilities, an information centre, an expanded camping ground, restored and extended walking trails, and new adventure recreation facilities. We have also worked hard to complete major restoration work at the Tidbinbilla nature reserve and open much of the natural park to the public.

We have allocated significant resources to environmental works and the removal of hazardous trees. Work is also under way to complete the redevelopment of the wildlife enclosures and repair the Tidbinbilla loop road. The government provided funding in 2004-05 to develop and improve the Tidbinbilla wetlands, construct a major nature discovery playground and a brushtail rock wallaby observation deck, and improve the popular barbecue areas.

Work will also commence this year on the rebuilding of the historic Nil Desperandum homestead and the partial reconstruction of the Rock Valley homestead. Following the significant fire damage to the Birrigai outdoor school near Tidbinbilla, the government moved quickly to ensure that outdoor education opportunities for ACT students were continued and extended. At the Paddy's River site, buildings not destroyed have been repaired. Rebuilding work to the value of $4.7 million is to commence shortly.

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