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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3371 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

legless lizard, Mr Speaker. That was no simple feat because the previous Minister, to his credit, moved an entire town centre. He had to redevelop the planning structure that allowed the development of Gungahlin and he saved these 500 hectares. But, Mr Speaker, they did it. Why did they do it? To protect endangered species living in this habitat. Then we get from Mr Corbell: "They don't care. They don't care. They don't care". That is all we ever hear from Mr Corbell.

What happened in 1997, Mr Speaker? In 1997, when we were developing Dunlop, the Dunlop Reserve was established to protect an additional 30 hectares of native grassland zoned for development. This required the renegotiation of a land development lease. Who did it, Mr Speaker? This Government did it, Mr Speaker. Who cares for the environment in this place and acts on it, not just mouth simple platitudes? This Government, Mr Speaker.

What do we have in 1999, Mr Speaker, following on from the process that delivered in 1997 and in 1995? We now have the same process in 1999, Mr Speaker, delivering a further 100 hectares of yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands to protect the environment, to protect our biodiversity. What are we doing this at the expense of? Residential land and land for other development purpose. Why are we doing this, Mr Speaker? One, because it is important and, two, because we have a process in place that allows us to establish which parcels of land are necessary to be saved for our biodiversity and which ones we can reasonably develop.

Mr Speaker, the other announcement today is that the final 11 action plans have now been gazetted, bringing the total to 24. We have 24 actions plans that protect the ACT's endangered species. Why do we do this? Because we care. We are a caring, clever government. We are caring because we want to protect our image as the bush capital. We are clever because we have put in place a process that allows us to progress these matters in a considered fashion so that all issues are addressed. Mr Speaker, we now have action plans for 22 species and two ecological communities declared as threatened with extinction under the Nature Conservation Act 1980. This makes the ACT the first jurisdiction to complete conservation plans for all species and ecological communities that are declared threatened with extinction in the area.

Mr Speaker, the ACT Government was the first jurisdiction to complete its nature conservation strategy. This achievement clearly demonstrates the Carnell Government's commitment to the objectives and actions agreed on by all Australian governments in the national strategy for conservation of Australia's biological diversity. The Carnell Government is the first to deliver on this across the nation. The Carnell Government has supported extensive surveys of threatened species and ecological communities across the ACT, particularly in response to development pressures.

Since 1995 we have undertaken major surveys in the ACT for the striped legless lizard and the grassland earless dragon. We have undertaken surveys of the natural temperate grassland, yellow box and red gum grassy woodland, the golden sun moth, Macquarie perch, trout cod, two-spined blackfish and the Murray cray - and all we get from Mr Corbell is: "They don't care. They don't care. They don't care". Mr Speaker, this Government does care. More than caring, we get out there and make the hard decisions by following a process clearly set out in legislation. We achieve things.

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