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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1368 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

In this report, the state of the environment is discussed in terms of environmental issues relative to five environmental themes - atmosphere, water, land, biodiversity and human settlement. For each issue there are corresponding indicators which help identify environmental conditions, the potential pressures from human activity and the responses we make to relieve those pressures. With the introduction of this format, the Commissioner for the Environment, Joe Baker, has established a framework for reporting that he hopes will be developed in future reports. This would allow these reports to play an important part in planning and management and in identifying our progress towards ecologically sustainable development. Mr Speaker, I commend this state-of-the-art report to the Assembly.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (3.33): I just want to say a few words as well. As the Minister for the Environment, I was involved in the development in the concept of a CD-ROM form of report. As the Chief Minister has indicated, there is the capacity for more such reporting in the future. Some would argue that we lose something in the process of producing a report in this form. I suppose we do, but I think it is important on an occasion like this to focus on what we gain. We gain an enormous opportunity to present information in a way which many people find helpful, and we find an opportunity to be able to organise information, once presented in the report, in a way which is useful for a whole range of different purposes.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time recently with Dr Baker and Helen Sims at his office going through the report, looking at the information available on the CD-ROM. I have no doubt that it will be tremendously useful in this region as a device for understanding better the interrelationship of the environment with other activities of human beings and understanding better how issues transcend the borders of particular local government areas and Territory boundaries in this region.

I am sure the work that has gone into this will be more than rewarded by the extra information that can be obtained and used profitably. I want to commend Dr Baker and his office on the tremendous achievement they have made in this report. I am very much looking forward to seeing other government information provided in this way in the future to assist in broadening understanding of what governments are doing generally.

MR CORBELL (3.35): I, too, want to add my comments as Labor's environment spokesperson. I am enormously impressed by this report and the sheer depth of detail in it. I was very lucky a few weeks ago, along with a number of my Labor colleagues, to receive a briefing and a demonstration of this CD-ROM by Dr Baker and Dr Sims. There is no doubt that this report will prove to be an enormously valuable tool, not only for those people who have a very strong professional interest in issues to do with the state of the environment of the ACT and the surrounding region but indeed members of this place. We will have the capacity, with this CD-ROM, to look at vegetation issues and other environment issues within the Territory when we are considering issues that affect us and decisions we have to make in this place.

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