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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 25 February 2010) . . Page.. 751 ..

publicly and through the Canberra Times that there should be an urgent and radical weed removal program. I just highlight those particular issues. They struck me because both of those issues are at complete odds with advice that I have received through the roundtable.

Mrs Dunne: Have you been advised to keep weeds?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, Mrs Dunne, I have, because at the Jerrabomberra wetlands there is nothing but weeds. That is all there is. The trees are mainly willow, mainly a declared weed. There is no native grass. All the grasses are exotic. There is no endemic native tree. Yet RiverSmart, from their perspective from Sydney, through the pages of the Canberra Times and correspondence, is strongly advocating radical and urgent weed removal.

Indeed, in fairness, I have written to all the roundtable stakeholders and asked them as a result of this view that is contrary to theirs whether or not they would wish to reconsider their position and their advice to the government in relation to locating water sport in the Jerrabomberra wetlands and removing all weeds. They have written back to say, “No, Chief Minister, we do not think you should reconsider our advice on that issue.”

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what is the current level of ranger support provided for the Jerrabomberra wetlands by Parks Conservation and Lands and do you consider this to be adequate?

MR SPEAKER: Did you hear the question, Chief Minister?

MR STANHOPE: I did, just. I would have to take some advice on the exact level, but the level of ranger activity is very low. Indeed, at this stage my understanding of it is that it is at a level no greater than occasional visits for the purposes of security and assessment. There is essentially no active ranger activity at the Jerrabomberra wetlands, hence the very heightened level of interest by the government, most particularly by me, and a determination to create a future through an agreed vision for the Jerrabomberra wetlands.

It is one of those issues that need to be handled carefully, soberly and in a very organised and rigorous way. Mrs Dunne’s question about the weed removal is a classic example. I have seen in a number of articles now, one most particularly by Ms Beeby and supported by Dr Phillips, attacking the government in relation to weeds. I was being attacked so I went to the experts that I defer to on these matters in the ACT and said, “I am getting this conflicting advice.” I remember that at the first meeting I proposed that perhaps we had better knock down these major weed trees, the willows, as we did in the Molonglo River. Aghast, the advice from all of the representative conservation organisations was to leave the trees alone until we have an appropriate replacement regime and transitional plan in place. Then Mrs Dunne jumps

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