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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1187 ..

sites in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park puts Aboriginal presence in our region 25,000 years ago. Many Aboriginal people from different clan groups and neighbouring nations gathered here for initiation ceremonies, marriage, corroborees and trade.

Also in the festival program our post-1788 built heritage will be highlighted, with activities in and around Lanyon Homestead, St John’s church, St Andrew’s church, the Jennings’ Germans history, Tuggeranong Schoolhouse and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, to name just a few that illustrate the variety on display and available during the festival.

Modern cultural heritage expression will be on display during tours of the Carillon, artist in residence programs, the voices of Spirits of Earth, Monaro Folk Society dancers, bush poets and storytelling. It is certainly not strictly European, as so many different cultures have contributed to our post-1788 heritage.

Of course, our natural heritage is a jewel in the ACT crown. We are fortunate to have a huge variety of parks and recreational areas, ranging from district parks with barbecues and playgrounds within urban areas through to the rugged and majestic landscape of the Namadgi National Park. The natural areas protect our cherished native plants and animals and their habitats and also ensure that we have some of the best water in Australia. Our parks and open spaces are also featured throughout this year’s heritage festival.

The protected area estate in the ACT is over 235,815 hectares, which is about 55 per cent of the ACT. No country and very few jurisdictions globally have more of their land area under natural protection. This compares to 11.5 per cent of the total land area across Australia, so we have the highest level of protection at 55 per cent, followed by Tasmania with nearly 40 per cent and South Australia with 25 per cent. The lowest level of protection is in Queensland and the Northern Territory, with less than six per cent, so we are very lucky to have so much natural history under protection here in the ACT.

Governments have important roles in protecting, preserving and enhancing all of our Aboriginal, post-1788 and natural heritage, and there are many valuable contributions to make and many ways in which the long-term protection of our heritage can take place. For example, in the built environment sometimes one of the best ways to preserve and celebrate our heritage is by using those assets and not leaving them empty and derelict, which opens them up more to vandalism. We should ensure they continue to flourish with life and vitality inside them and maybe put them to reuse so that when people visit those buildings and other sites they can look at the heritage values of the buildings and celebrate and enjoy them rather than the buildings being closed off and unavailable to them.

There are many ways we can celebrate our natural heritage, our post-1788 heritage and our Aboriginal heritage. I encourage all members here to participate in the upcoming ACT and Region Heritage Festival and to take advantage of many of the tools and displays that are available. I guarantee that you will learn something about our region that you did not know before. There is so much to learn and so much to see,

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