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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1048 ..

We will consider insurance and other protections for clients and building owners, implement a residential building dispute resolution scheme and make improvements to the ACT Security of Payment Scheme. As well as these reforms, the government has invested in establishing an expert team of publicly funded building certifiers within the ACT public service to deliver confidence to homebuyers that their new homes are free from serious defects.

I now turn to environment and heritage. It is great to hear that there is tri-party support for the environment, but we need to look beyond the rhetoric that suggests that the government is not doing very much in terms of the environment, and particularly in terms of supporting our environmental volunteers. I would like to expand on a few of the ways in which we are supporting environmental volunteers and repairing the land to make Canberra an urban biodiversity haven.

In this budget the government will continue to support the hardworking, valuable, local environment volunteer based groups. We know that the contribution made by these community groups is staggering. It ranges from removing weeds to caring for injured wildlife, and delivering citizen science programs like FrogWatch and Waterwatch.

In this budget the ACT government is supporting environmental volunteers, particularly the three ACT regional catchment management groups, who have each been granted $125,000 in the 2020-21 financial year—this year’s budget. ACT Wildlife have been granted $100,000 to continue their crucial work in rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured wildlife.

Additional funding has also been made available to the community through the environmental grants program. $200,000 is available under the ACT rural resilience grants for projects that address pest animals and weeds on rural lands. Another $200,000 is available through the ACT environment grants funding and $100,000 through the nature in the city grants. This enables localised and dedicated care from the environmental volunteers who truly understand and love their neighbourhoods. We are not leaving our environmental volunteers high and dry.

We are also investing in implementing invasive species management programs to protect Canberra’s biodiversity. Invasive species are one of the biggest causes of biodiversity loss and, with climate change, we can expect that they will get worse. Following the significant invasive weed growth resulting from the La Nina weather patterns that we experienced in Canberra over the spring-summer period, the government is investing an additional $626,000 this year to manage invasive species in the region.

Let us spend a moment on the extraordinary claim of a “hare-brained scheme” around bettongs. I invite the shadow minister for the environment to contact my office to get access to the significant information that has been provided around the research that has come from this very important research program. This government is committed to research, science and evidence-based environmental management. We will absolutely continue environmental research to ensure that we are responding in an

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