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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3767 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

"(2) The trust-

(a) is a body corporate; and

(b) may have a common seal.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (5.35): The Government will oppose both Ms Tucker's and Mr Corbell's amendments. Ms Tucker's amendment provides for the establishment of a Rural Conservation Trust. The Government has already committed itself to the establishment of a Rural Conservation Trust Fund. The figure of $230,000 that Mr Corbell quoted is not correct. It is $250,000 and we have also received an additional $100,000 from the Federal Government's very successful NHT funding program.

The Greens' proposal for the Rural Conservation Trust does not add any real value to the Government's proposal for the establishment of the fund. An independent advisory committee will oversee the operation of the fund. That committee will contain experts in land management, business management, nature conservation and community relations.

The fund will be a much more streamlined approach than the Greens' proposed trust, with tremendous potential for real and productive collaboration between the Government and the rural community. The Greens' proposal does not have the background of consultation or broad support from the rural community that would be vital to its successful implementation. Mr Corbell, who will be moving further amendments, believes that the funds can be applied to administrative costs, the activities of the trust and other things. We want to see this money spent on the ground improving the environment, not tied up in another trust and more duplication of bureaucracy. That is not required in this city.

The Rural Conservation Trust Fund is the way to go. The Government opposes the amendments.

MS TUCKER (5.36): I want to respond to a couple of points that have been raised. I think Mr Kaine has misunderstood what we envisage as the role of this trust. I said in my speech that it will be established as purely an advisory committee reporting to the Minister. Mr Kaine suggested that I can amend the terms of reference or membership of the Environment Advisory Committee. The Environment Advisory Committee is a quite different advisory committee. It does not have statutory force. There is no way I can force any changes on that committee. It is a creature of the Minister.

That is what Mr Smyth has just described in his version of a group to advise on how the money is spent. Mr Smyth said it would be an independent advisory body. How on earth could it be? It has no statutory status at all. The Minister of the day will choose the members. It is very obvious that our proposal is much stronger and quite different. We are saying who will be on it. It will have statutory status. It is disappointing that this Government is reluctant to bring in this kind of accountability on such an important issue.

Amendment (Mr Corbell's ) to Ms Tucker's amendment negatived.

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