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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1423 ..

Volunteers’ activities provide enriched and extended services that would not otherwise be available to the community without their support. The ACT State of the Environment Report in 2019 calculated that the ACT’s environmental volunteers across all environment sectors contribute around $40 million to $50 million per year to the environment of the ACT.

These volunteer contributions include: unparalleled local knowledge of the surrounding environment and local species; physical labour—planting, weeding, removing debris and caring for injured wildlife; monitoring and evaluation, such as through the Waterwatch and Frogwatch programs; administration and management of environmental group activities; education and raising awareness of local environmental issues; and encouraging practices to support the needs of present and future generations. I want to highlight and thank our environmental volunteers for the contribution they make. We are continuing to support our catchment groups, ParkCare groups and wildlife carers to maintain their commitment and the resources they need to look after our environment and our nature.

In conclusion, the ACT government recognises and reinforces the importance of nature in our city, our exemplary demonstration of a city in its landscape, and our progress towards building our resilience to climate risks and any unforeseen threats.

Our strategies and programs strive for a biodiversity-rich, resilient landscape stretching from the inner city to the mountains, where well-functioning, diverse ecosystems meet the needs and support the wellbeing of people and the environment, continuing and sustaining the liveability of Canberra. I present the following paper:

Nature: the foundation of Canberra as a liveable city and the wellbeing of the ACT community—Ministerial statement, May 2021.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.26): The Canberra Liberals are ambitious for our territory’s environment and future. The Canberra Liberals believe that nature must be respected and protected. As the Canberra Liberals shadow minister for the environment, I welcome and am pleased to speak on Minister Vassarotti’s ministerial statement on the importance of nature for the territory’s liveability and Canberrans’ wellbeing.

We often hear Canberra is a great place to raise children, and much of the reason for that is our green spaces, nature parks, reserves, waterways and the like. The Canberra Liberals agree with Minister Vassarotti that while Canberrans are rightly proud of our bush capital status, a city of clean air, trees, lovely gardens and well-maintained parkland, we cannot take this for granted.

While some Canberrans might assume that having a Labor-Greens government in power guarantees strong stewardship of our environment, I am not convinced. Sadly,

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