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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3868 ..

relation to Nil Desperandum and Conservation Volunteers I will just conclude with the rationale, the basis, the current arrangements. They actually do go to the current management plan, which, as I said, notes the potential to introduce commercial activities into Tidbinbilla to enhance visitor use and enjoyment and then goes on to say that low-impact activities such as nature tours may be allowed in the national park.

The management plan then nominates criteria against which tourism products might be judged suitable at Tidbinbilla, including environmental sustainability, potential for environmental impact and economic viability—all of which have been assessed during the planning stage of the Naturewise product that has been negotiated between TAMS and Conservation Volunteers. But the current management plan is actually silent on the appropriateness of the short-term overnight use of Nil Desperandum—the cottage Nil Desperandum—though it does quote the 1995 conservation plan for the building as stating that the underlying theme in relation to the conservation management of Nil Desperandum is to maintain the building as a residence.

I assume, Ms Hunter, that with your concern around camping and Conservation Volunteers Australia at Tidbinbilla you are expressing a point of view around the occasional overnight use of Nil Desperandum as a residence apart from camping. It is something that was deemed by TAMS, at the time it entered the arrangement with Conservation Volunteers Australia, as consistent with the conservation management plan for Nil Desperandum. I guess we could have a conversation on whether or not overnight use of Nil Desperandum constitutes camping. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Regarding Conservation Volunteers, unlike the Greens, we on this side of the chamber support them, and we are keen to know how the government—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, preamble.

MR COE: We are keen to know how the government is also supporting Conservation Volunteers Australia.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you very much, Mr Coe. I am not sure it is exactly fair to say that the Greens oppose Conservation Volunteers Australia and their wonderful work. I was not suggesting that, Mr Coe, so your question poses me some difficulty. I would not suggest that.

I sometimes do think there is a rush to condemn or criticise the government most particularly—“You’ve just tabled a management plan for Namadgi, but you’re allowing camping in Tidbinbilla, in contravention of the management plan.” What has been happening at Tidbinbilla is that Conservation Volunteers Australia, through a contract entered into between Conservation Volunteers Australia and TAMS, has been seeking to use Nil Desperandum, which was, until it was destroyed by the fire in 2003, regularly used for those purposes, most particularly for short-term stays. It had previously been used for that purpose. The conservation plan suggests that it is appropriate to be used for that purpose.

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