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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3629..


Voting age eligibility

Greening Australia

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.53): First of all, I want to report on my daughter's joy yesterday when she received a letter from the Australian Electoral Commission. My daughter has recently turned 17. This form came out of the blue to her, although I remember Mr Green telling us that this was a practice of the electoral commission.

I want to say that, when she filled that in and I witnessed it, she said, "This feels really important and really serious."I must say that I felt that while she would not necessarily vote for me, she would be a very responsible voter if this Assembly indeed decided to make voting for 16 and 17-year-olds possible for those who chose to do so.

The main reason I wanted to rise today is to acknowledge the many volunteers that we have in our community who are part of, I suppose, the effort to combat climate change, although I am sure they were doing this long before climate change became a phrase we talked about, and even before the organisation for which they now work-Greening Australia-was set up, as I believe it was set up in the 1980s.

There is an article in today's paper which inspired me to make this speech. It has a photo of a man of 88-Vic Grosvenor of Page-in the nursery at Aranda where the plants are propagated. It refers to the death of Don McColl, a Yass district farmer who also worked with Greening Australia. I am hoping that the age of these two gentlemen is not indicative of the average age of all of Greening Australia's volunteers. If that is the case, then you know it is not a great thing for our future.

Secondly, I refer to the work of Greening Australia in general, many of whose trees I have helped to plant in the Lower Cotter catchment where they have planted many thousands of trees. I also note that Greening Australia provides trees to local farmers at a low cost. I note also their scrupulous attention to making sure the trees that are planted are of the provenance of trees that are grown in the area. They do not just plant a red gum, for instance. They make sure the trees come from the seeds of red gums that grew in this local area. That is their intention.

To address Mr Stanhope's frequent remark-I think I have heard it twice this week-about how some people regard some trees as more equal than others, of course all trees are wonderful but not all trees are in the right place. There is the fact that some trees, for instance, are known to be fire retardant. In that I would include blackwoods, silver wattles and a number of other varieties. You just have to go to the Yarralumla Nursery to find those.

Secondly, he has said that some trees are not appropriate in certain environments. Greening Australia is one organisation that makes sure that trees planted are appropriate to their environment. They give lots of advice to the people who plant them. They make sure that there are follow-up watering and other plans.

This is just one of those things where I believe it is important that we share our knowledge instead of deriding it. In relation to the arboretum discussions, for instance, it is a pity that Mr Stanhope, and perhaps others, were not open to making a dialogue


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