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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3726 ..

had their usual access to this place. They could have churned through what I know for many of them would have remarkable—a seven or eight-hour working day!

My understanding is that family and community day was very successful. The celebration in Glebe Park was great fun. It served a very useful purpose in terms of the family and this community. It is a pity that the Liberal Party chose, whilst having the holiday, to actually criticise and bag and condemn it. I have a sneaking suspicion that if the Liberal Party want to campaign next October on their determination to abolish family and community day, the Labor Party—the government—will be more than willing to engage in debate on that particular piece of policy or commitment.

At one level perhaps the people of Australia might decide the issue for us tomorrow. To the extent that Kevin Rudd is elected Prime Minister and Labor is returned federally and Work Choices is abolished, then the absurdity and the ideological nonsense in the abolition of union picnic day will be a bad memory, and we can perhaps proceed from that point.

Environment—pine wildlings

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change regarding the control of pine wildlings, which are classified as a pest weed in the territory. Has the government observed the recolonisation in former pine plantation areas and on neighbouring hills by these wildlings? Does it acknowledge that they pose a threat to both fire safety and biodiversity, and what action has been taken to control them?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I think we have all observed the vigour with which pine wildlings are reclaiming some of their past domain in many areas of the ACT. It is a significant environmental issue, as of course is the spread through nature parks and reserves of a range of other introduced species. Anybody who walks through any of our nature parks or reserves, throughout particularly the nature reserves more closely incorporated within the urban areas or close thereto, will see a whole range of introduced species that are very happily colonising parts of nature reserves. It is a significant issue. It is a serious issue. To the extent that 12,000 to 13,000 hectares of pine have been planted throughout the ACT and that there remain still 2,000 or 3,000 hectares of pine forest within the territory, it is an issue that will continue to bedevil us for some time. We are very aware of it. We have provided some funding to deal with wildlings around the Cotter and the Cotter catchment. Most recently, I believe in the second appropriation bill, there is some funding to deal with pine wildlings on Narrabundah Hill. We have sought progressively to deal with some pine wildlings within Mount Stromlo and it is a campaign that will continue for some time.

There is a whole range of priorities within environment and within our nature reserves. For instance, in the last budget we provided significant funds to deal with another pest plant—$300,000 to deal with willows in the Molonglo River. There is a whole range of issues around introduced species, pest plants. Pine presents a significant issue for us, essentially because we planted 13,000 hectares of them, which is an awful lot of pine trees and the wildlings are an issue that we will need to deal with for, I would suggest, decades to come.

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