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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2927 ..


MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order! Ms Le Couteur, Mr Rattenbury, Chief Minister: hello? Would you mind having the conversation in the lobby, please—thank you very much—or lower the volume a tad?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker; well done. We can assume then, because they do not want to say where it would come from, that it would come from the roads budget, based on what Ms Hunter has had to say on roads funding in the past. It was interesting to hear that both Mr Stanhope and the Greens felt that they were somehow the targets of this motion.

Mr Smyth: Everybody’s a target.

MR SESELJA: Everyone is a target of this motion, apparently. I can assure you, Mr Assistant Speaker, that this motion was not aimed at you in any way, shape or form. It was actually aimed at the people of the ACT who value their street trees. They were the primary target of the motion. The people who live in Tuggeranong, Belconnen, Gungahlin, Weston Creek, the inner south and the inner north—those who live right across the ACT—who value their street trees are the targets of this motion. Just like when we debated roadside drug testing today, the people of the ACT and road users on the ACT were the targets of that legislation, not Jon Stanhope. The targets of this motion are the community who value their street trees. I have never been referred to as a tree hugger before today. I think that was the first time. I do not know that that is how I would describe myself.

We do value our urban landscape. We do value what is wonderful about Canberra. I have said many times that I would not want Canberra to become one of those cities that do not have much open space and trees in their neighbourhoods. We see them around the world and they are ugly places. They are ugly, concrete jungles. I do not want to live in a concrete jungle and I do not think many Canberrans do, which is why they choose Canberra to raise their families. This is about protecting much of what is good about Canberra.

What we have in this amendment—and I think Mr Smyth has touched on it well—is, in fact, a failure to do the work. Mr Smyth pointed out that the estimates committee simply mentioned it as a summary item along with 1,000 or so other summary items that they identified in their report. There was no analysis about this. There was no position put by the committee, the Greens-dominated committee, on what they would want to do on street trees and the arboretum. There was nothing. So referencing that and saying that the estimates report raised it as a key issue is just irrelevant. It was a dot point on a page and nothing more.

The other thing about the amendment is that it talks about deferring this program, which we are told is urgent. That is what the government has told us. It endorses deferring it for a year. But the budget actually defers it for longer than that. There is no money in the outyears; the money has been taken out. That $11.2 million has been taken out. It is not that it has just been taken out for this year and will all come back next year. That is not what the budget papers say. The government’s own documents say there is a pressing need to commence—and we agree; there is a pressing need—but pulling $11.2 million out does not reflect that.


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