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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 2540..


MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mrs Dunne for the interjection. Firstly, Mr Speaker, can I say to Dr Foskey that the changes to the Department of the Territory and Municipal Services will have no effect on Mulligans Flat—quite the contrary. It is a bit of a shame that in the examination of this year's budget, Dr Foskey particularly and also the shadow minister for the environment did not congratulate the government on the Chief Minister's initiative to provide a fence around the Mulligans Flat nature reserve.

Mr Seselja: How remiss.

MR HARGREAVES: "How remiss,"says Mr Seselja. I am sorry about this, Mr Speaker, but Mr Seselja may find somewhere else to ride his trail bike.

For Dr Foskey's information, one of the reasons it is so important to fence around Mulligans Flat is the need to keep out predators, particularly cats, dogs and foxes. I took the opportunity when I was in New Zealand and in South Australia for ministerial councils to visit a couple of places that have such fences and I confess that the fence in South Australia is probably the most appropriate. It is a very effective fence in keeping out predators.

The other benefit of a fence, of course, is to keep out people who would harm the nature reserve. The nature reserve has a number of things which endear it to all of us. There are sensitive woodlands, sensitive grasses and endangered species in that area. There is also a historic track which is part of the original coach path from Yass to Canberra. There are some people in Canberra who value the reserve, and I am sure that Dr Foskey shares the government's commitment to it. We hope that that fence will keep out trail bike riders who would illegally construct jumps and pits in this area. The use of man-made jumps and things like that is in fact illegal and is a police matter. I would ask members who talk to their constituents about this to report the matter to the police, or at the very least to report it to Canberra Connect on 132281. If they do we will take absolute action.

I can assure Dr Foskey right now that any changes to the staffing profile of territories and municipal services will have absolutely no detrimental effect on that nature reserve. If anything, it will have a positive effect.

DR FOSKEY: I ask a supplementary question. Could the minister advise the Assembly of the cost of remediating the damage and the public safety risk that such an illegal facility represents?

MR HARGREAVES: I will have to take that question on notice. I do not know how much the remediation of those trail bike pits and jumps will cost, but I will endeavour to find out. I do not know if I will be able to do it today. It may take some compilation, but I will endeavour to get Dr Foskey an answer by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

I have to say that once this was drawn to our attention we went public very, very quickly and told the public that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and that we will come down on it particularly heavily. If we can identify those people who have decided that this is a good spot to do their trail bike riding, we will bring every ounce of weight of the law against them.


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