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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3727 ..

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Foskey?

DR FOSKEY: What initiatives has the government put in place to control the wild pine population for this summer to prevent them being again a source of danger, through fire, to our city?

MR STANHOPE: The government has accepted the recommendation of McLeod that there be no commercial pine forests re-established to the west of the city of Canberra. In the interregnum between the fires of 2002 and 2003, which destroyed 10,000 hectares of pine forest to the west of the ACT, some, I think, two million to 2½ million pine trees were in fact replanted, a million of those on the Tuggeranong Parkway and, I believe, in excess of a million within the Cotter catchment. Strategies are in place to deal with both those plantings. At this stage the trees that were planted within the Cotter catchment are serving a very useful purpose in soil stabilisation, stabilisation of the Cotter catchment. They will, when they achieve some commercial status—not before they are mature but as they grow and there is some capacity to harvest them—be harvested and removed and the land will be allowed to regenerate to endemic species. The trees to the west of the Tuggeranong Parkway and indeed south of the zoo and aquarium will be progressively removed, beginning within the next year or two, in the same way as the pines in the Cotter catchment will be dealt with. These are proposals or projects that the government has undertaken to pursue.

So far as the wildlings are concerned, I think one needs to separate the level of danger that wildlings present from that of the plantations that have been planted. There is a significant difference between the threat that established plantations present as opposed to wildlings. Nevertheless, we are very conscious that, to the extent that some areas of wildling are quite thick, they potentially, particularly in the future, will present a risk and they will be removed. In relation to many other wildlings, we are very concerned to address them or to seek to deal with them, to kill them or to remove them, before they seed themselves and perpetuate the problem.

So there is a range of strategies in place in relation to different areas and different circumstances in relation to pines, whether it be plantation or wildling, across the ACT depending on the circumstance.

Alexander Maconochie Centre

MR SESELJA: My question is directed to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the recent second appropriation bill provided for an additional capital injection of $2.54 million into the Alexander Maconochie Centre. This is on top of the $128 million already appropriated on your prison—an amount that the Canberra community was told would be the absolute maximum of expenditure on this project. On 11 May 2006 the Attorney-General, Mr Corbell, said:

The bottom line is that the project will not cost more than the budget provision. That is the requirement the government has put in place, and that will be the way it is delivered.

Did Mr Corbell mislead the Assembly on 11 May 2006 when he claimed that “the project will not cost more than the budget provision”?

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