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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 3948..

MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

submissions from stakeholders. In July 2006 the committee released a discussion paper on the proposed nomination and invited further submissions.

The committee is pleased to have received 31 submissions to the inquiry to date, the majority of which express strong support for the proposed nomination. Stakeholders expressing support include the Nature and Society Forum, the conservation council, the CSIRO, the commission for the environment for the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, the chair of the ACT government's sustainability expert reference group and other academics at the University of Canberra and the ANU, the Southern Tablelands Ecosystem Park, and various other prominent individuals.

Pace Farm, or Parkwood Eggs, the ACT division of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand and the ACT division of the Institute of Foresters of Australia have expressed qualified support for the proposed nomination. The Rural Leaseholders Association and the ACT/Southern New South Wales Housing Industry Association have expressed reservations about the proposed nomination.

Several stakeholders are still developing their views on the proposed nomination. These include the ACT Property Council, the Planning Institute of Australia, the Canberra Business Council, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, ACT division and several Australian government agencies.

One of the issues the committee is considering concerns the possible boundaries for the proposed biosphere. The ACT is one of 56 natural resource management regions in Australia, but it is also nested within a larger Murrumbidgee River catchment area. Another important consideration is that Kosciuszko National Park was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1977, but it is not currently fulfilling the Seville Strategy objectives.

The 2006 Kosciuszko National Park plan of management notes the New South Wales government's intention to explore the concept of an expanded biosphere reserve across various land tenures. The New South Wales government has expressed a willingness to discuss a joint approach to the management of Kosciuszko National Park and the ACT as a major biosphere. The cooperative approach already taken by New South Wales and ACT agencies in the Australian Alps Liaison Committee could also be applied to a biosphere proposal.

The third world conference on biosphere reserves will be held in Spain between 3 and 8 February 2008, where many of the issues currently being debated within UNESCO's "man and the biosphere"program will be discussed and clarified. These include the concept of biosphere reserves as learning laboratories, urban biospheres and zonation generally, the world network of biosphere reserves and country-to-country and city-to-city networking.

The conference will also review and update the 1995 Seville Strategy, which guides the implementation of biosphere reserves. It is expected that, after the conference, UNESCO will be able to better recognise sustainability features in urban areas in biosphere reserves.

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