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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 1996 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

director of Environment ACT and the conservator will actually work together. Mr Corbell did say that the committee is interested in the independence of the conservator. I notice he is nodding in agreement. If that is the case, I would be very supportive of this. I believe that independence is important and that the values of conservation must be the ultimate concern of the conservator. This is not about a balancing act; it is not about giving equal weight to competing uses for these natural areas, because conservation clearly has been the main priority and that has been expressed in previous assessments of how we value those areas.

The independent environmental audit of the management of Canberra Nature Park takes place on a three-year basis - the last recommendation to be reported both to the Minister and to the Assembly and, where appropriate, considered by an appropriate Assembly committee and, possibly, the audit would be performed by the Commissioner for the Environment. That is important as well because it is about keeping track of what is happening in our nature parks and actually showing that it matters by having these processes put in place.

I agree with Mr Corbell that there has been a lot of concern about the slightly gung-ho attitude to this matter by the relevant officers and government, particularly with the horse-riding issue where we have not seen an evaluation or assessment of the impact. Yet there has been a willingness to extend to horses access to the nature parks, and obviously that has been of grave concern. I congratulate the committee on this report. I think it looks like a very good report. I encourage government to pick up the recommendations because we can only benefit from this report's recommendations being implemented.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (12.11): Mr Speaker, I thank the committee for its report. I will consider it and respond in due course.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.12 to 2.30 pm


Australian Public Service

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. A report in this morning's Canberra Times reveals that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has judged the release, under freedom of information legislation, of details and information about cuts to the Federal Public Service would not be in the public interest. Can the Chief Minister say whether she also regards information about cuts to the Public Service as not being in the public interest?

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