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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 693 ..


Report on Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - Government Response

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (3.37): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to the Standing Committee on Urban Services Report No. 16, entitled "Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Final Draft Management Plan 1998", which was presented to the Assembly on 9 December 1998. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, in August last year the Standing Committee on Urban Services considered the final draft management plan for Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. In November the committee reported in its report No. 16 which contained 10 recommendations. The Government has considered these recommendations and now presents to the Assembly the response that I am tabling today. In light of the standing committee report an addition was made to the plan in relation to the wilderness values, as designated by Environment Australia.

While these values have now been recognised in the plan, the quality of the wilderness area is low compared to the adjacent sites in Namadgi National Park. It is considered that the best function for these areas is as a buffer zone between the more developed wildlife enclosures and recreation facilities in the valley floor and the higher quality wilderness areas. The report recommended that the national park component of the reserve be incorporated within the adjacent Namadgi National Park. As the two reserve management zones lie within the one catchment, it is considered more appropriate to manage the reserve as a whole, rather than a part catchment managed by different districts.

The report requested also that entry fees be removed for people wishing to use only the national park component of the reserve. This is considered to be not feasible to implement and administer due to the single entry point to the reserve. Also, access to the national park component of the reserve is possible from Namadgi National Park or from the adjacent pine plantation.

Mr Speaker, the Government agrees to refer explicitly to the importance of maintaining the nature conservation values of the reserve, and changes have been made to the plan to reflect this recommendation. The Government also notes the recommendation that the management plan stipulates that all money raised by entry fees is returned to the reserve.

Mr Speaker, the standing committee's report also recommends that the Government give an assurance that the loan and interest payments for the new visitors centre will not lead to a reduction of the resources devoted to the reserve. The Government gives that assurance.

The Government notes the recommendation that the conservator should not be placed in a position where he or she is both the proponent of a development and the provider of what is expected to be impartial advice on the conservation impact of that development.

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