Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2492 ..
Mr Connolly: And what did Harold do about those residents?
MR BERRY: Mr Hird has done nothing about anything that concerns the community. In fact, when community assets are being threatened, where do you find Mr Hird? You cannot find him. That was the first occasion when it became clear that this Minister was not terribly interested in the environment. He became more interested once he was caught out by this Labor Opposition and it was demonstrated to the community that he did not have his eye on the job. I accept now that he has his eye a little bit closer to the job, and I am happy to see that he has done a bit in relation to the effects of interstate bushfires on the ACT. I think we can take some credit for that.
The other issue which I think was one of the clearest indications of this Minister's inability to deal with the environment issue was his approach to tree protection in the ACT. I saw Mr Humphries involved in an admirable project involving saving a stand of snow gums in Belconnen. What I was bound to point out was the hypocrisy of Mr Humphries on this issue, when it came to the protection of trees, because just previously he had removed the protection for native trees in the urban areas. The community really grow to love those old native trees and they would be horrified at the prospect of somebody being able to cut loose on a mature native tree with nest holes for our fauna. But, undaunted, Mr Humphries ploughed on with it, and, of course, he got Mr Moore and Mr Osborne on board. That is not surprising, because they run interference for this Liberal Government, and they, too, are responsible for that change to legislation.
I do not anticipate that the Liberals, with their record on the environment nationally, will behave any differently here, other than when this Labor Opposition and others in the Assembly embarrass them. It seems that, no matter how they are embarrassed in relation to those issues, they will still be protected by those people who put them there. That is not surprising. I guess we will have to live with that until those people sicken of the performance of this Government in relation to that very important issue of the environment. Madam Deputy Speaker, you can rest assured that the Labor Party will be standing guard over this Government's performance in relation to the environment in the ACT, and we will maintain that pace while this Government survives.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (12.37 am): I note that when the Assembly debated Mr Berry's motion on smoke from New South Wales he was so impressive on the subject that he attracted no votes outside the Labor Party. Even the Greens could not be brought to support him. Secondly, on the question of native trees, if Mr Berry thinks that there is a reasonable scheme for protecting native trees, I suggest that he bring one forward.
Mr Berry: We had one, and you just took it out.
MR HUMPHRIES: You put forward a scheme and you will get support for it. There is no such thing as a feasible scheme. If Mr Berry can find one, he can have it.