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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3291 ..


the stance taken by New South Wales is of concern to the National Parks Association, and I guess the proof of whether it will hurt either the New South Wales high country or the ACT lower areas will be in the months and years to come.

I thank Mr Daniel Iglesias, director of the parks and conservation service, for the depth of his knowledge across a range of issues from water quality to weed management and even down to providing details of how rabbits are culled in various areas.

In our grasslands and national parks we are also blessed to have a large army of dedicated volunteers who give freely and generously of their time to care for places like Mulligans Flat, Black Mountain and Namadgi, to name just a few. I had the pleasure earlier this year of going on an exploratory walk of Black Mountain with the former Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Rosemary Purdie, who is passionate about that reserve and is an absolute encyclopaedia of knowledge about its plant species, its soil types and its endangered areas.

I have raised in previous annual reports and estimates hearings, and I did so again this year, the issue of the quality of water in our lakes and the importance of managing algal blooms so that people can safely enjoy activities in and around our lakes with lake closures becoming less frequent. Carp management programs are also important, and the rollout of the biological control methods offers real hope for the lakes and rivers in our region that we may at last be getting the better of this revolting unwanted visitor.

As we move into potentially drier times, Canberra families need to be conscious of their water use. We have a strong track record of using water wisely, and I trust that this continues.

Time was provided for a separate session with the office of the commissioner for the environment, Professor Kate Auty. There is, frankly, little direct material contained in the budget that can provide meaningful discussion on the office, with annual reports hearings probably being a more opportune time to ask questions of direct relevance to the papers at hand. I am disappointed that the committee recommendation that new accountability indicators be considered for the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment were not agreed to by the government or by the office of the commissioner itself.

I hasten to add that the recommendation that they change in no way reflects adversely on the important functions of the office or on the work it carries out, but let me quote an example. In budget paper E, we have an accountability indicator for the commissioner which outlined an accountability measure for commissioner-initiated investigations undertaken in accordance with the terms of reference, with a target of 100 per cent, which was achieved. I have to ask: if it is commissioner-initiated, why would it not be?

In estimates I asked: when exactly was the last commissioner-initiated investigation? The answer came back that the last one was in 1999 by a former commissioner. Surely an accountability indicator set by the commissioner, measuring an outcome


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