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Namadgi National Park - Management Arrangements
MR BERRY: My question is directed to Mr Humphries, the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. Mr Humphries, on 31 May this Assembly passed a motion concerning Namadgi National Park and it included these words:
... this Assembly will reject any changed management arrangements unless they are first endorsed by the Assembly.
My understanding is that in the course of that debate certain assurances were given that this would not happen. I put to you this question: Have you taken any actions which could lead to changed management arrangements at Namadgi? If the answer is yes, what action has been taken? If the answer is no, do you intend to move to change management arrangements at Namadgi?
MR HUMPHRIES: You are desperate for questions, are you not, if you have to ask a question like that? Mr Speaker, I said to the Assembly, and the Assembly approved, that the Government would not make any changes in the way Namadgi is managed without the approval of the Assembly. The motion was specifically amended to allow me to continue to discuss and work up a proposal which I could put before the Assembly, and that is what has been happening. There have been some productive meetings between officers of the Parks and Conservation Service of the ACT Government and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, and I am very pleased with the way in which those discussions have progressed. Those discussions have progressed with authority from both the ACT Government, in the form of me as the Minister for the Environment, and the Federal Government, in the form of the Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Faulkner, who has been consulted about the progress with these negotiations and, I understand, is prepared to progress these discussions on that basis.
Mr Speaker, at this time there is discussion about how a proposal would work, in particular how Namadgi would be managed, and whether there should be any change to the present status of Namadgi in its relationship to the ACT Government. The indications that my officers have had in those discussions are that it is unlikely that any change should occur, in order to maximise the opportunity for the ACT Government to be involved in any processes it might have concerns about, or the community might have concerns about. I will indicate, since Mr Berry has asked the question, however, that the negotiations have attracted a rather considerable sweetener at this point. I understand that the Australian Nature Conservation Agency is prepared to consider the injection of some $500,000 into the provision of services and upgrading of the operation of Namadgi National Park.
Mr Berry: And rip the heart out of our park service at the same time.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Berry might not be happy about that, but I think $500,000 would go a long way in our national park at the moment. That is not tied, as far as I can see, to any particular adverse arrangement as far as management or control of the park is concerned. That is a pretty good outcome, Mr Speaker. I will, as I indicated to the