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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1965 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

Mr Speaker, actions speak louder than words. If something does not work and requires change, such as the tree protection provisions of the Nature Conservation Act which were recently amended by the Government, one would have expected the Government to fix it, but not by saying, "It is too difficult; let us remove it altogether". A truly committed government would have presented alternatives to improve the situation.

MR WOOD (4.35): Mr Speaker, I am glad that Mr Humphries retreated from his abortive point of order to close down debate on certain aspects. Mr Humphries was correct when he said that this commissioner report was a report of the former Government, but we are not debating just this report. The Minister's response we are now debating is the report on his Government's responsibilities and the way they have responses to the 51 recommendations here assert very proudly the Government's record. But I do not think the record is anything to be proud of. The Government's performance is simply not up to what it should be. But that is what we are debating.

This report is one I am proud to stand by. It contains a great number of constructive recommendations. It has criticisms of a lot of what has happened in the Territory, but we did that deliberately so that it could show us the way forward. We have the most expert opinion on how we should proceed. We had that opinion from an independent officer; a statutory officer who enlisted the support of 50 of the best scientists and other people in this Territory - people who are free of influence - to tell us how we should proceed. That will happen again this year. I expect that Mr Humphries will get the second State of the Environment Report very soon. I hope that it will not take him as long as this time - something like six months - to respond to it.

Mr Humphries: It took you six months to respond to it. You were in office until March this year.

MR WOOD: I am sorry; this was tabled in about October last year.

Mr Humphries: Yes; November, December, January, February, March. It was five months before you - - -

MR WOOD: I think there were about two more sitting weeks in the term of that parliament, Mr Humphries. Go and check your records. It took you until recently - all year - to table the response. The report was much valued. The Minister's response is a great disappointment.

Mr Humphries: How could it be disappointing when we agree with all the recommendations?

MR WOOD: Exactly. Almost every recommendation is agreed. I went through and I thought, "This is good. The Government is taking some of this impetus and moving forward". But the Government actually has not done anything. It is good that this report, though it was delayed, is now being debated after the budget. That allows us to see whether the Government is putting its money where its mouth is, and the Government has failed dismally.

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