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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 2221..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Muslims in the context of this national action plan. We talked about that at the Ministerial Council on Multicultural Affairs in New Zealand recently and the vote was 8-1, but the commonwealth, having supreme power in all this sort of thing, decided to proceed and just go down this discriminatory road and remove people's rights.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister's time has expired.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella): Pursuant to standing order 246A I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment relating to the 11th National Conference of Parliamentary Public Works and Environment Committees. We attended the 11th National Conference of Parliamentary Public Works and Environment Committees last month and it is my pleasant responsibility as chair of the standing committee to deliver this statement to the Assembly on behalf of the committee concerning our attendance at the conference. From 24 to 28 July Queensland's Public Works Committee hosted the conference. Members may remember that we in the P&E committee hosted the conference here last year. That conference was titled Sustainability and Recovering from Natural Disasters. The Chief Minister opened the conference here in the chamber.

The broad aims of these annual conferences are to discuss and be informed on matters related to environmental and natural resource management and public works, so as to enhance parliamentary committee members' knowledge and understanding of these issues and effectiveness as parliamentarians and committee members; to foster interjurisdictional understanding and cooperation; and to provide a forum for parliamentary committee members to periodically consider the purpose and role of committees and ways to facilitate and enhance the work they do in their respective jurisdictions.

The theme of this year's conference was Ecotourism and Developing Infrastructure in Environmentally Sensitive Areas. This theme is directly relevant to our committee's work program. For example, ecotourism and sustainable infrastructure development are relevant to the committee's scrutiny of the draft management plan for Namadgi National Park and several agencies' annual reports, and to its inquiry into the proposed nomination of the ACT as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

During the conference delegates heard many and varied perspectives on private sector investment, protected area management and sustainable tourism. Rather than summarise the many excellent presentations delivered, I will highlight just a few examples of the stimulating content provided. The committee learnt of the many achievements delivered under the Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2003-08. These include the Great Walks of Queensland project, the development of self-help materials, growing indigenous involvement in the tourism sector, the development of a memorandum of understanding between Tourism Queensland and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and the promotion of sustainable tourism in Queensland generally.

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