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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 February 2018) . . Page.. 416 ..

with traditional custodians and Aboriginal representative organisations, and encourages their involvement in land management activities. Some evidence of early European settlement and historical forestry activities also remains and will be managed in accordance with international best practice.

Consistent with the primary objective of protecting water supply, it is intended that recreational use of the lower Cotter catchment remains low key. The plan identifies two management zones within the reserve and sets out which activities are permitted or not permitted within each zone. Motorised vehicles, including trail bikes, are only permitted on the publicly accessible roads and trails. Swimming, camping, lighting fires and firewood collection are not permitted in the catchment, and all recreational activities are prohibited in the Cotter reservoir. Fishing is only permitted in the Cotter River upstream of the junction with Condor Creek.

Fire management in the lower Cotter catchment will aim to reduce the risk of wildfire and protect Canberra from fires approaching the city from the north and west. It will promote the recovery of vegetation in order to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and protect threatened and fire-sensitive species and ecological communities.

A considerable amount of consultation occurred during the preparation of the draft plan. A wide range of relevant stakeholders were identified and consulted on the issues affecting them. Local Aboriginal groups, including the traditional custodians and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, were invited to a field trip to the lower Cotter catchment to seek their views on issues of importance to them.

Prior to public release of the draft plan, all directorates were consulted in September 2016. The draft plan was available for public comment from 16 January 2017 to 10 March 2017. Some 24 submissions were received and all comments were considered in preparing the final plan. I thank all those organisations and individuals who made valuable contributions during the consultation; they have greatly helped the plan to meet the needs of the environment and the community.

The plan and the report on consultation were referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services in August 2017. The committee conducted an inquiry into the plan and received two submissions. The committee’s report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 30 November last year. The report contained one recommendation—that the minister approve the plan. The government response to the standing committee’s recommendation was also tabled here today, and the government has agreed to the committee’s recommendation that the lower Cotter catchment reserve management plan be approved.

As a disallowable instrument, the lower Cotter catchment reserve management plan will come into effect after the disallowance period of six sitting days. In order that members of the public have access to the plan, it will be made available on the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Directorate website and the your say website from today. Printed copies of the plan will be available on request.

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