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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3510 ..


While on the subject of government inaction, I am incredulous that the action plan for the grey-headed flying fox is not finalised and has not even gone out for public consultation. The 2019-20 environment directorate annual report states, on page 386, that a draft action plan has been drafted; so why has it not been released for public consultation, as required by the Nature Conservation Act 2014?

That makes me wonder: is it appropriate for the Assembly to be directing the government to take action on the vulnerable grey-headed flying fox with sensible and non-contentious measures when the proper process has not been followed? We know what the proper process is, so why has the government not followed it? We know an action plan has been prepared, and proper process is that it should be released for public consultation, with a final action plan approved by the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna, Ian Walker, and implemented.

It is unacceptable that the processes in place, which achieved tripartisan support way back in 2014, have not been properly implemented by successive Labor-Greens governments. These measures were designed to protect our important ecosystems and their species, and they are being let down by government inaction. While we do not oppose the measures outlined in this motion, the Canberra Liberals call on the ACT government to follow, in a timely fashion, the legislative requirements set out in the Nature Conservation Act.

I also note that, unfortunately, this is not the only action plan that is outstanding. The Canberra Liberals have previously asked why other action plans, such as the action plan for the loss of mature trees, under the list of key threatening processes, have taken so long. The environment directorate annual report 2019-20 reveals that, as a result of new listings in 2019, action plans have been drafted for the loss of mature trees, under key threatening processes, the high-country bogs and fens ecological community, the eastern bettong and the grey-headed flying fox.

Before concluding, I want to explain that the Canberra Liberals have moved other amendments today to highlight the importance of ecosystems and their intrinsic value. The Canberra Liberals believe that this motion should be broader than just protection of a particular species or a healthy environment which is more human-centric. If we as an Assembly are genuinely committed to protecting our vulnerable species then let us put our words into action and get the job done. Let us be clear: this measure is to protect flying foxes and there is tripartisan agreement to do so.

I urge the government to get on with the job and bring forward the protection of our vulnerable grey-headed flying fox to 30 June next year. If the Greens, in particular, do not support this measure, so much for the Canberra community electing six of them to this place in the belief that environmental management and protecting our vulnerable wildlife would be prioritised.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (3.14): I am really pleased to rise today to support this motion. The ACT Greens believe that, where humans interact and come


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