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The criteria specified in this instrument will guide decisions by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna in relation to the administration of licences for activities that affect plants and animals. They provide strong protection for important conservation values and will ensure that government responsibilities in this special area of nature conservation are met to the degree warranted. I commend the instrument to the Assembly.


Government Response

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (3.14): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to the ACT State of the Environment Report 1994, which was presented to the Second Assembly on 21 September 1994. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, in August last year, Dr Joe Baker, the ACT Commissioner for the Environment, submitted the first ACT State of the Environment Report to my predecessor, Mr Bill Wood. Mr Wood tabled the report in the Assembly on 21 September last year. The report contains 51 broad-ranging recommendations for more effective environmental management of the ACT. The submission of an annual State of the Environment Report is a requirement under the Commissioner for the Environment Act 1993. Regular reporting on the state of the ACT environment ensures accountability to the ACT community on the management of the environment by ACT agencies. It is important to note that, in accordance with the Act, the report was prepared independently of direction or constraint by me as Minister or government agencies or government departments.

The 51 recommendations are broadly grouped into five sectors relating to the various chapters of the report, namely, atmosphere, water, land, plants and animals, and the urban environment. In addition, a number of recommendations derive from the overview chapter at the front of the report of the Commissioner for the Environment. The Government response to the report is directed at the long-term protection of the environment. I am pleased to advise members that the majority of the recommendations are supported by this Government. Indeed, a number of our responses to the commissioner's recommendations reflect our policy platforms and actions that we have already instigated since coming to government. I would like to outline a few of the more notable examples of that.

The coordination of environmental monitoring, as advocated in recommendation 1, has been enhanced by the Government's new Administrative Arrangements Orders. For example, ACT Forests was brought within the Environment and Land Bureau of the Department of Urban Services, thus ensuring stronger links between forestry functions, conservation requirements and pollution control. Increasing public awareness and involvement in environmental management through education, community consultation

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