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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2925 ..

MR BERRY (5.26): Mr Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak briefly about this report. It is obviously a very important issue for the people of the ACT. I note, Mr Speaker, that the committee looked very carefully at the future of Namadgi and I see that they have called for an update of the management plan for Namadgi. I think that is a welcome direction for the committee to take. I think it is a good thing that this happens after a period of some gloom in the ACT when people were concerned that this Government, the Liberal Government opposite, might unload Namadgi for somebody else to look after.

Mr De Domenico: Wait until you read the thing.

MR BERRY: Recommendation 1, which I have read, makes the point, I think, that Namadgi is in ACT hands and that is where it ought to stay.

Mrs Carnell: Hear, hear!

Mr De Domenico: Hear, hear!

MR BERRY: I hear the Liberals opposite chorusing, "Hear, hear!". It was not like that a few months ago - until you got caught out for working behind closed doors on attempts to privatise the management of Namadgi. So, Mr Speaker, I think this first recommendation in this committee's report is a very important move. It reinforces the need to ensure that Namadgi is retained in ACT hands. After all, the Government opposite were elected - as future governments will be - to look after the interests of the ACT, not give them to somebody else to look after, and that is what was planned by those people, obviously. I am glad that that one has been put in the bin at last.

Mr Speaker, turning to other issues, I can see that the general thrust of the committee's recommendations is that we enhance our tourist attention to our natural delights, but I did hear Mr Wood express some concern about how we can cope with that without damaging our environment. I will be interested, when the Government responds to this report, to see how it will provide the sort of infrastructure that would prevent damage to our natural resources. I guess many of us have seen cases where, for example, in a rainforest which has been the subject of a lot of tourist attention there has been a whole range of root damage to trees and plant species because of the amount of traffic which has been allowed into those places without much thought being given to protecting the base of trees and plants in those places. In other more advanced areas where protection has been provided some of us will have seen, I am sure, walkways to ensure that the pitter-patter of little feet does not damage the trees and native species that grow in those wonderful places.

In this part of the world I think we have to be particularly careful because, once damaged, for us in the Territory it means a lot in terms of the attractiveness that that might provide for any future tourists. The same could be said of some natural grassland. The other day I was out on a cycle path and noticed nearby a patch of natural grassland and it has been offered as something attractive for people to look at. The problem is, of course, that if hundreds of people go to that site and invade it it could be wrecked. So we have to be very careful how we protect those.

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