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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1137 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

On a related matter, I note that the committee has recommended that the management plan be reviewed every three years by an independent assessor and that the Government has accepted this in principle. This recommendation could be made for all the management plans for the other reserves in the ACT, as I am concerned about the general delays that have occurred in preparing and reviewing other management plans because of lack of resources. How independent these reviews will be is going to be an ongoing issue, as we found with the rural residential study.

The final point I would like to comment on is the role of the conservator. I am disappointed that the Government is not prepared to do anything about the conflict of interest that has arisen when the conservator is both the proponent of development in the reserve as well as the provider of advice on the conservation impacts of that development. This was one of the issues which led to my recent private members Bill regarding the qualifications of the conservator. The Government's head-in-the-sand attitude to this conflict of interest is very worrying and does not bode well for the assessment of future development proposals in nature reserves, such as the tourist facilities which the Government seems so keen on.

The Greens have always said that the primary management objective for nature reserves should be nature conservation and that facilitating tourism activity should be a secondary objective. I note that the Government has included this point in the management plan, but I wonder about its commitment to these words when compared to the - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order! Ms Tucker, would you address the microphone? Sorry, but we cannot hear.

MS TUCKER: Yes. I noticed that it changed.

MR SPEAKER: That is better.

MS TUCKER: I thought it was the technology. Was it just how I was speaking? I must have moved my body.

MR SPEAKER: You may look to the stars for inspiration but, please, look to the microphone if you want to be heard.

MS TUCKER: Okay. I note that the Government has included this point in the management plan, but I wonder about its commitment to these words when compared to the effort it is putting into turning Tidbinbilla into a self-funded tourist attraction. I will therefore be watching very closely the implementation of this management plan.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.15), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank the members for their comments. Clearly, the Government will not agree with some of what has been said, but the Government does have a commitment to Tidbinbilla. Ms Tucker keeps talking about the head-in-the-sand attitude of just developing tourist facilities yet totally ignores the need to provide an all-up experience for those who would like to go and learn about the bush, and much of what is being built up at Tidbinbilla is about education. It is about explaining what we have out at Tidbinbilla. It is about urging people to be responsible in the way that they use the bush.

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