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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 31 July 2018) . . Page.. 2362 ..


findings from the inquiry into a proposal for a mammal emblem for the ACT, which was referred by the Assembly in November 2017. The ACT currently has a floral emblem, the royal bluebell, and a bird emblem, the gang-gang cockatoo. However, we are the only Australian state or territory that does not have a mammal emblem.

In February 2018 the committee invited the ACT community to put forward suggestions for an ACT mammal emblem. In March the committee received 30 submissions which incorporated the views of more than 295 people or organisations. The committee decided not to conduct public hearings during this inquiry but, instead, to visit wildlife and conservation experts to obtain briefings on the range of animals native to the ACT. In May the committee visited Mulligans Flat woodland sanctuary and Tidbinbilla nature reserve.

All submissions to this inquiry expressed some support for the idea of a mammal emblem for the ACT, and the submissions nominated a range of animals for consideration. From the list of animals suggested by the community the committee identified a short list of two candidates: the eastern bettong and the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby. We then invited the ACT community to express their views on these candidates via an online survey. This was notable as the first occasion on which an online survey has been used by an Assembly committee to engage with the ACT community. The survey was conducted for two weeks, from 7 to 26 June. Some 3,514 people in the ACT participated in the online survey, and the results were remarkably close, with only 40 votes between the two animals.

After considering the submissions, the information provided by wildlife and conservation experts and the results of the online survey, the committee makes three recommendations in this report. The first is that the ACT Legislative Assembly adopt a mammal emblem for the Australian Capital Territory. The second is that, given the extremely close result of the public survey, the ACT Legislative Assembly consider the possibility of granting mammal emblem status jointly to the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby and the eastern bettong, and I would like to provide a little bit more information on this.

As a resident of Mulligans Flat, the eastern bettong has become synonymous with the north side of Canberra. The southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby, on the other hand, is clearly a south-sider, happily hopping around Tidbinbilla nature reserve. The eastern bettong, having been reintroduced from Tasmania, is illustrative of everyone who has moved from somewhere else but now calls Canberra home. The rock-wallaby, on the other hand, as documented through Indigenous rock art, has a long association with region. The rock-wallaby demonstrates the amazing conservation work that is undertaken in Canberra, while the bettong highlights how important restoring our biodiversity is. Each of these efforts to preserve the mammals shows a different but equally important part of the ACT’s commitment to our environment.

The committee views the recommendation of dual mammal emblems as a very Canberran answer to what proved to be an incredibly difficult question. If, however, two mammal emblems are not considered an appropriate option the committee recommends that the ACT Legislative Assembly consider adopting the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby as the mammal emblem for the ACT. The committee


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