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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1313 ..


I would like to speak briefly about open spaces and nature reserves. Given that the Molonglo valley development is the latest large-scale area set aside for greenfield development in the ACT, it is vital that it is developed with the preservation of key areas of open space, wildlife corridors and riparian zone protection in mind. The increased demands and needs placed on open spaces as a result of a denser city mean that development in this valley must take account of ecological considerations far better than, say, development in Gungahlin did.

Some of the most prominent propositions we have put forward are the preservation of key areas of open space, wildlife corridors and riparian zone protection. We need ecological considerations to be taken into account. We need links to the Kama woodland to provide a green belt. We need open spaces accessible to the wider community and to link to the path network. For example, it is important—this puts it in context—that the Molonglo River, the actual river corridor, cannot and should not be the only green space in the area. That is for two reasons. First, we need to protect that; we need it to be preserved in its natural state to as good an extent as possible. Secondly, it is only one part of the development; we need to see that become part of the suburbs, but at the same time protected. I think it is possible to do that with some clever design and some thoughtful planning at the beginning. In that context, we also need to minimise the human and domestic animal effects on ecologically significant areas. We know that there are a number of species and habitats or ecological communities in the area that warrant careful protection.

With regard to the riparian zone specifically, the Greens remain strongly of the view that the inclusion of a large dam in the Molonglo development is inappropriate for environmental reasons, and that environmental protection values should be given priority over perceptions of what delivers the greatest local amenity or land value in the area. Of the original three ideas that were under consideration for the management of the river, the Greens favour most strongly the concept of a chain of cascading ponds, though we also encourage the government to fully investigate leaving the river as it is but with rehabilitative wetlands and protected river verges.

While a large lake has been justified in terms of improving water quality, the reality is that other large lakes have been subject to urban run-off with high nutrient loads, predisposing the lakes to outbreaks of blue-green algae. A large lake will reduce the capacity for native fish movements up and down stream, and increase the likelihood of invasion by non-native species. The inundation of a lake will also result in the loss of the riparian vegetation currently along the river corridor and would therefore require some revegetation.

They are the specific comments I wanted to make. On a more general level, there is an opportunity here with Molonglo, being a new development and being developed in 2010 and beyond in an era in which we know of issues such as peak oil and the need to reduce our greenhouse emissions, and we know about some of the mistakes we have made in the past, new ways of thinking about urban design and the things that planners have learned. The development of Molonglo from scratch as a whole community is a tremendous opportunity. It is a tremendous opportunity to learn all those lessons, to use all that wonderful research that has been done over many years, to create the suburbs and the township of the future that I think many people will


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