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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 1994 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the final point that I want to turn to in my comments on this report relates to the resources for Canberra Nature Park. There is no doubt that the management of Canberra Nature Park is an enormous task. It is a task that we saw first-hand, thanks to the aid of officers and rangers of Environment ACT. We saw first-hand the magnitude of the task that rangers face in managing this park, even doing simple things like making sure that people walk their dogs on a lead. When my colleague Mr Rugendyke and I undertook an inspection with the manager of Canberra Nature Park North, we came across about half-a-dozen people all walking their dogs off-lead, even though they had their leads with them. When they were stopped by the ranger, they promptly put their dog onto a lead.

It is quite clear that the task faced by Environment ACT in managing Canberra Nature Park is extraordinary. We questioned the executive director of Environment ACT as to whether or not he thought he had sufficient resources both to manage the current uses of Canberra Nature Park and also to manage future use, such as equestrian access in Aranda, the Pinnacle and Mount Painter. His answer was: "Yes, I believe that we can do it". He said he believed that he had the resources "to deliver the outcomes and objectives that are specified in this draft plan of management".

Every submission we received, Mr Speaker, whether from equestrian groups, park care groups or individuals, stated that they did not believe the Government was putting enough resources into Environment ACT to make sure Canberra Nature Park could be managed properly. So we have made a very important recommendation that the Government seriously consider increasing the resources available to the Parks and Conservation Service to ensure that Canberra Nature Park is managed efficiently and effectively. You cannot continue to allow greater and greater demand on the use of this resource without a commensurate increase in the resources for managing that use.

The Government putting forward a proposition that increased use can occur without increased resources threatens the very nature of that asset as a key element of our bush capital and as a key element in the design of Canberra. That recommendation, along with all the others, is one I hope that the Government very seriously considers. I urge it today to implement these recommendations because they are sensible, unanimous recommendations which will ensure a better management of Canberra Nature Park.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the most striking thing about this inquiry was the enormous effort that was put in by ordinary members of the community in looking after a valuable resource for all Canberrans. Without the volunteer work of park care and land care groups, of water watch groups, of individuals, this asset would continue to deteriorate. Instead, what we have seen, through financing from Federal governments of both persuasions and the activities and volunteer work of individuals and groups, is a dedicated effort to restore elements of Canberra Nature Park that have become degraded over time and, more importantly, a strong sense of ownership over the community's asset. That was very striking in our deliberations also.

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