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The recent suggestion that it might be appropriate to transfer responsibility for management of Namadgi to the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service was, hopefully, just a trial balloon. Mr Humphries says that the ACT would always retain control, yet management would be contracted out. This does not make sense to me. The word “efficiency” is being thrown around as the be-all and end-all. The Australian Nature Conservation Agency is a national body and, again, much discussion would have to occur before ANCA was given management control of Namadgi National Park. Again I ask the basic question. Why? Mr Humphries needs to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the way the park is being managed at the moment, and that is absolutely unclear. The resources of the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service are already stretched. This has been pointed out time and time again. The New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service has undertaken to manage a further possible 40,000 hectares within New South Wales, and it is unclear at this stage whether that service will get any additional resources to assist with its management.

Regional management of our natural environment is very important; it is vital. The Greens will support any moves to strengthen a regional approach to management. However, the agencies which have responsibility for parks management are already underresourced. Stretching these resources further would be detrimental to the management of national parks within both the ACT and New South Wales.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The time for the discussion has now expired. I understand that Mr Berry has a motion to move. I am aware that Ms Horodny might have something else to say on this matter. I am also aware that one or two other members may wish to contribute to the debate. They will have the opportunity to do so once Mr Berry has moved the motion.

Motion (by Mr Berry) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent leave being granted for Members to speak on the matter of public importance.

MS HORODNY: The ACT Parks and Conservation Service has an excellent reputation both within the ACT and with other States' parks and wildlife services. The suggestion that the private sector is more capable of providing the services currently provided in and around the park is also questionable. I would be very concerned about the compromises a private operator would make in the search for profit. The Greens would be very concerned about any proposal that would include a risk of compromising care for the environment and the consequent benefit to the community as a whole for the profit of the few.

Namadgi National Park constitutes an essential part of the ACT. It is an area of importance to the community for many reasons, not just its environmental, cultural and historic values. It is also used for recreation and education of the community. I am glad that Mr Humphries brought up the issue of Aboriginal management of Namadgi. That is a separate issue and one that presumably would not be based on the profit motive. It should be discussed and debated fully.

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