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MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation on the grounds that I have been misrepresented.

MR SPEAKER: Leave is granted to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I was absolutely astounded to hear Mr Humphries say that I had a close association with Leda. That is an outrageous statement. It is simply not the case that I or my party had a close association with Leda. That is an unfortunate statement for Mr Humphries to make. It is completely wrong. He also said that we were about to approve Leda's application for an extension. He has been the Minister for six months and he still does not understand the planning process. I utterly reject those claims by Mr Humphries.


Debate resumed.

MR BERRY (11.38): This matter seems to demonstrate that the Liberal Government opposite has no concern for the preservation of our native species, or inadequate concern at least. What occurred in relation to this legislation is that amendments were put in place which meant business for the preservation of our native species. In fact, it is in accordance with Labor's policy. In its landscape policy it states:

Labor will ... introduce legislation to protect the ACT's native trees outside of reserves, particularly those on residential blocks and verges.

That is why that legislation is in place, and it is most inappropriate now to move to deal with it in the way that is suggested by the Government. If you take a close look at the legislation as it stands, subsection 43(1) states:

A person shall not, without reasonable excuse -

and I underline that for the moment -

(a) fell, or cause to be felled, standing native timber; or

(b) damage, or cause to be damaged, standing native timber;

except in accordance with a licence.

The emphasis on the words “reasonable excuse” is one that members need to look at closely. Whilst the interpretation of what that means will be a matter for the courts, it is a matter of fact that it has not turned out to be a problem for the administration since these changes were introduced. Indeed, the legislation, in my view, would not turn out to

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