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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2021) . . Page.. 323 ..

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Pettersson for his question and for his interest in parks and conservation. The government has committed to providing an additional $2.4 million to incorporate additional knowledge into land management practices through the permanent employment of Ngunnawal rangers. Their work will involve tackling weeds; repairing tracks and trails; and working with the community to educate and promote conservation, nature and culture.

This is building on the success of the temporary Ngunnawal rangers employed as part of the government’s COVID-19 response. These positions were part of the Jobs for Canberrans Fund, which provides work opportunities for Canberrans in the casual, semi-skilled workforce who lost their jobs or who were significantly impacted during COVID-19.

The investment builds on significant funding provided to the Parks and Conservation Service in recent budgets and is part of a wider $4.4 million in funding to enhance the natural environment, including through weed and invasive plant management.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what work have the Ngunnawal rangers been involved in since they were brought on during the COVID-19 public health emergency?

MR GENTLEMAN: Six rangers that were brought on as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery program last year have been making a great contribution to the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. Their work has been essential to our recovery from the Orroral Valley bushfire in 2020, as well as working on projects that are helping our vital catchments.

Their work has also contributed to improving land management practices. We have made improvements in how land managers undertake early monitoring of invasive plants and animals and native species. This also allows us to understand how the landscape responds after a bushfire and will inform best practice management into the future.

I want to thank those who have so far been involved in the program, as well as PCS staff, who have worked extremely hard this past year looking after our bush capital and surroundings and supporting bushfire recovery.

DR PATERSON: How does the budget fund the work of Parks and Conservation Service staff?

MR GENTLEMAN: The ACT government funding also funds additional invasive species management in our parks and reserves, targeting priority areas across the ACT. That includes a major effort to reduce and manage incursions in the weeds area, such as Coolatai grass and Paterson’s curse. The budget includes $626,000 to implement more invasive species management programs, following significant invasive plant growth and new land management challenges as part of the La Nina weather system. This funding will establish an invasive species rapid response ranger

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