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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 694 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The Government considers this recommendation to be outside the scope of the plan, and has decided that the current conservator arrangements are to be retained. It should be understood that PALM independently evaluates development proposals, which is a publicly accountable process that considers comment from the community and government, including the conservator. The Government, however, agrees that any sponsorship arrangements are to be low key, and will not detract from the visual or aesthetic impacts of the reserve.

The Government considers that this aspect is adequately covered in the plan. The rolling three-year implementation plan to be produced within 12 months of the release of the management plan will be reviewed annually by the Environment Advisory Committee, and will achieve the objective of an independent assessment of the plan. The advisory committee will provide advice to me as necessary. The Commissioner for the Environment will also have an opportunity to assess specific aspects of reserve management, as necessary, in his report on the state of the environment.

The Government notes the recommendation about considering increasing resources available to the Parks and Conservation Service. The Government considers this to be outside the scope of the plan and will consider this aspect through the budget process.

Mr Speaker, I conclude by saying that the Government's response has considered all the recommendations made by the standing committee, and that changes to the final draft management plan have been made, where appropriate. I will table the final draft management plan shortly. I thank the committee for their hard work on this issue.

MR CORBELL (3.41): Mr Speaker, it is pleasing to see that the Government has responded to the standing committee's report on the draft management plan for Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. I would have to say that the Government's response is a mixed one, and there are certainly a number of matters which I think would be appropriate to highlight immediately, which the Labor Party would have some concerns with.

The first is in relation to the Government's response to recommendation No. 10, which deals with the resources available to the Parks and Conservation Service in its responsibility for the efficient and careful management of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, amongst other reserves. The Government's response is simply to say, "This is noted but it is outside the scope of the report". That is not a very satisfactory response at all. In fact, not even in his tabling speech has the Minister said anything about the desirability for more effective and efficient resourcing of the Parks and Conservation Service.

The evidence that the committee received in its public hearings was quite clear and it all pointed to one very important fact, that is, that there is no point in having a management plan, there is no point in doing all the work in preparing a management plan, unless you have the resources to be able to implement the plan to make sure that the ultimate goal, which is the preservation and effective management of the environment, is achieved.

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