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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3814 ..

focus of my remarks that I think this is of significant concern. Minister Gentleman’s remarks in the paper today reflect the prospect that the ACT faces if this matter is not better managed by New South Wales.

We join in the call of condemning the New South Wales government’s reckless legislation, and we call on them to reverse it. We will take whatever opportunities we can to make that case, both directly ourselves and in partnership with our Greens colleagues in New South Wales, and, in joining this motion, send a message of significant importance to New South Wales about the concern that we have, urging them to reverse their decision and take a more scientifically and ecologically based approach to dealing with this issue.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Advanced Technology and Space Industries) (4.10): I think Ms Cheyne for bringing this important motion here today. Namadgi National Park is the jewel in the crown of the ACT’s conservation estate. The mountains of Namadgi, which are so recognisable as the backdrop to our city, also form the northernmost outpost of the Australian Alps national parks. Declared in 1984, the park protects these magic, rugged mountain ranges and the many plants and animals which make their home in that place. Of course, the territory protects more land for conservation as a percentage of total land than any other jurisdiction, about 65 per cent, and Namadgi National Park forms the largest component.

The plants and animals of Namadgi have been important to humans for tens of thousands of years. They were a source of sustenance, shelter and wellbeing for Aboriginal people who lived amongst these mountains. Indeed the Ngunnawal culture, alive and thriving to this day, owes much of its richness to the mountains and valleys of Namadgi National Park.

Today the subalpine or alpine environments are rare in Australia. In fact, they only make up 0.15 of one per cent of the continent. These regions protect some of our unique plants and animals which are found nowhere else. In the ACT the brilliantly marked northern corroboree frog persists in very low numbers amongst the sphagnum bogs protected by Namadgi’s high country.

We humans share something in common with this beautiful frog. We very much rely on the protection of the sphagnum bogs and the protection of our subalpine streams, as these systems provide us with one of the best and most reliable drinking water sources in all Australia. I speak of course of the Cotter River catchment, which is the primary source of drinking water for the Canberra region. Protecting the integrity of the Cotter River catchment is a primary management objective of the ACT government.

Since 1986 Namadgi National Park has been managed cooperatively as part of the network of reserved areas known as the Australian Alps national parks, as I mentioned earlier. The cooperative management approach is now under threat with

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