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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 1961 ..

Reference - Leasehold Administration

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, under standing order 128, I fix the next day of sitting for moving the notice of motion standing in my name on the notice paper which seeks an extension of time for the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment inquiry into the Stein report and the Government response, and permission to report out of session.

Report on Inquiry into Nature-based Tourism

Debate resumed from 12 December 1995, on motion by Mr Kaine:

That the report be noted.

MS HORODNY (10.55): Mr Speaker, the conservation of nature is an issue that is very close, obviously, to the hearts of the Greens. I was, therefore, very interested to read this report, which discusses the possible expansion of tourist activity in the ACT's Namadgi National Park, the nature reserves and the forest areas around the ACT. There can be no doubt that the Namadgi National Park, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, the Canberra Nature Park and other smaller reserves are key natural assets of the ACT that should be treasured. Not only do they define the bush character of the ACT and provide recreational opportunities for Canberrans and tourists; they also are areas of significant ecological value in their own right.

This last point is what I want to emphasise today. Nature reserves are established for the primary purpose of conserving nature. Nature reserves have not been created for the primary benefit of the tourism industry. People understandably want to visit these areas to experience the beauty and the wonder of nature, and it is very important that people have this opportunity so that they can learn more about the importance of the natural environment; but this must be managed very well, so that the ecological values of the areas are protected from the adverse impacts of human visitation. I am pleased that the report has acknowledged this point in some of the recommendations. What I would like to do today is to put some priority on the recommendations to emphasise this point.

For me, recommendation 13 is the key and critical recommendation, and that is that the ACT Government maintain its commitment to preserve ACT national parks and nature reserves for the purpose of conservation. This commitment must come before anything else relating to the promotion of tourism in these places. The next most important recommendation is recommendation 1 - that the ACT Government finalise draft management plans for the Lower Molonglo, the Murrumbidgee Corridor and the Canberra Nature Park and Tidbinbilla, and update the management plan for Namadgi as a matter or urgency. It is quite scandalous that the ACT has only two management plans in place - one for Namadgi, prepared nine years ago, and one for Jerrabomberra.

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