Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1962 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
We were promised consultation on a whole range of things - consultation which has not eventuated. We know about the old Liberal consultative, council style of government. On the important issue of land, the Liberal Government has no commitment to safeguarding the Territory's assets. Against a background of no consultation, it handed over Acton Peninsula - valuable Territory land - for land of less value at Kingston. What did we find out in the end? It turns out to be contaminated. It has been accepted that the site is contaminated. The extent of the contamination is unknown, but this Government has taken on the responsibility for cleaning it up at the taxpayers' expense without having sorted the matter out in the first place. Committed as we are to cleaning up the mess which Mrs Carnell has given to us, it will be interesting to see how the Government responds to a committee report which has yet to be delivered in relation to the matter.
On the issue of plants and animals, we have seen the Minister set his sights on the ACT kangaroo population. He leapt in, contrary to the advice of the committee he set up, and proposed shooting the kangaroos.
Mr Osborne: What about condoms?
MR BERRY: He might as well have suggested that. Unfortunately, the males do not have a pouch to carry them around in. At no stage did he outline long-term solutions or a rational approach. His response was to shoot them.
We have also seen the work of a whole range of Landcare groups and nature conservationists undermined by the Government's decision to commence burning off during the breeding season for birds. I thought that was a thoughtless approach. Everybody knows, I would have thought, that in the spring lots of birds breed in the shrubs in our nature parks. There was a lot of concern about that issue when the burning off commenced. Nobody would argue that proper fuel control ought not to be carried out as bushfire prevention. I have seen enough of the effects of ineffective fuel control in the past. In my view, there are other times in the year when you could carry out those sorts of burning off programs. At least the communities concerned about these issues need to be consulted closely. As far as I could make out, the outcry that resulted from the burning off decision demonstrated again that this Government failed in its promise to consult widely with the community. You just cannot go and torch our nature parks and expect people to sit back if they have not been properly consulted. That sets back the work of those groups and conservationists concerned about the urban environment and the natural environment in the ACT.
The Government's most recent action in relation to urban environment has left all of our mature native trees in urban areas vulnerable. In an outrageous move, the Government has jettisoned the section of the Nature Conservation Act which protected our mature native trees in urban areas for the whole community. I do not think it has sunk in with people because - - -
Mr Connolly: He has a gun in one hand and a chainsaw in the other. Bang, whirr, bang, whirr!
MR BERRY: That is right. He has bulging pockets.