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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 361 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Now is the government's chance to fulfil the original promise made to me about the protection of the remnant woodland on Percival Hill. It has to be remembered that remnant native woodland was not declared an endangered ecological community when the Harcourt Hill estate was planned in 1992, but our knowledge of the ecological value of this type of woodland, and the realisation of how little woodland we have left in this region, has increased markedly since that time.

This patch of woodland, while it may not be as pristine or as large as woodland in other parts of the ACT, is the most intact area of woodland left in the Harcourt Hill area and is much appreciated by local residents.

The Chief Minister, Mr Humphries, recently gave a commitment that his government would not develop land that was currently open space. While the land at Harcourt Hill is marked as residential on the Territory Plan, it is also defined land, and the Urban Services Minister did state earlier that the zoning of this land was indicative and subject to more detailed planning. It is time for the government to demonstrate its often touted environmental credentials, to stop the destruction of this woodland and to keep this patch of woodland intact by incorporating this whole area into the adjacent Percival Hill reserve. I urge members to support this motion.

MR CORBELL (11.16): The Labor Party will be supporting this motion this morning. It is an important motion. The area of development that this motion is concerned with is the Harcourt Hill estate, Nicholls, has already seen considerable tree removal as part of the land development process. In some respects that is inevitable, but we have seen the removal of a significant planting of native trees that was part of an overall landscape design for the Harcourt Hill/Nicholls area around a decade ago. What an enormous waste of money and effort to remove semi-mature trees to allow for more housing.

This motion relates to remnant woodland, not planting done as part of a landscape scheme by the NCDC prior to self-government. This woodland existed prior to any residential development even being planned for the area. It is native woodland.

The proposal has been the subject of a longstanding debate amongst local residents and with the government. On frequent occasions the government has reassured residents that they do not intend to allow development in the area, but time and again we have also seen moves through the joint venture arrangements to have the area explored for possible residential development. It seemed to me that we were reaching a stage where the government was going to allow a development which was to be, so-called, integrated into the existing woodland area.

No doubt this would be a very pleasant place to live, and no doubt the land would fetch a reasonable price if it went to market. But would it result in a compromising of the environmental values of that woodland area? There is no doubt in the Labor Party's mind that it would. For that reason, it is important that the Assembly support this motion today to put in place a Territory Plan variation which provides for proper protection of all of that remnant woodland area.

As Ms Tucker has pointed out, the woodland in question does go over both sides of that arbitrary line in the Territory Plan and includes both the hills, ridges and buffers area of Percival Hill and some of the defined land area which is subject to the development of

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