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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 4034..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

The report also noted that ANU Professor David Lindenmayer had previously raised concerns about the fire hazard and threat to Canberra's water catchments by the replanting of pines. The article went on to reassure us that the Chief Minister had something to say. The article stated:

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope's office said the approach being taken to forest plantings was based on "expert advice".

Chief Minister, who were the experts and what was their advice?

MR STANHOPE: The decisions in relation to the non-urban areas of the ACT affected by the bushfires of January 2003 resulted from a study chaired by Mr Sandy Hollway and an expert reference group of very significant Canberrans and national experts in relation to a whole range of issues. The expert reference group that informed the work of the non-urban study, and that was established and appointed in relation to issues around rehabilitation of areas that were destroyed by the fire, included the chair of the sustainability expert reference group, Professor Bob Wasson, a very significant academic with direct expertise in relation to issues around sustainable ecosystems, particularly the natural environment; Professor Peter Cullen, who at the time of his appointment was the chair of the ACT Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee and who I think is without peer in Australia in relation to catchment management issues and water; and Professor Peter Kanowski, head of forestry at the Australian National University and acknowledged as being without peer in relation to issues around forest management.

These were some of the experts. There was a range of other experts employed and on whom the government relied in relation to the decisions that were taken on the reafforestation and the replanting and regeneration of non-urban parts of the ACT. I cannot recall the names and the circumstance of all of the experts who were engaged in that particular project but I can assure the Assembly that amongst the experts were Professor Bob Wasson, head of the sustainability expert reference group, without peer in Australia; Professor Peter Cullen, without peer in Australia in relation to catchment management and water; and Professor Peter Kanowski, without peer in Australia in relation to issues relating to forestry. They were some of the experts on whom the government relied.

I think if Mrs Dunne could be bothered to take the time to read the detailed report into these issues she could be advised or informed of the range of other very significant experts who were involved in that particular process and on whom the government relied in the decision it took.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, you have named a range of people who you say are without peer. Were individual views on matters relating to soil erosion and catchment taken into account or were they in some way synthesised to come up with a solution that had already met decisions that had been made by the government?

MR STANHOPE: That question is so amazingly insulting to three of Australia's most eminent scientists. I am staggered at the effrontery of the Liberal Party suggesting that


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