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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 363 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

private leases, they will be managed by the occupants and they will be destroyed, no matter how hard we try to stop that from happening.

Another resident near where I live has a couple of large eucalypts in the backyard. Cockatoos, which have a habit of damaging everything they go near, were ringbarking the branches on the tree, and as the branches died they broke off and fell on the powerlines. So all of a sudden a dislike of native trees developed in the community and people were saying, "Who was the silly person who grew these big gum trees so close to the powerlines?" The fact of the matter is that the person who put them there was probably given them by the government at an earlier time and not given any advice on where they should put them, except not to put them too close to the powerlines. How close is too close? It is about as long as a piece of string.

All these things I have talked about merely emphasise the need, wherever we can, to preserve remnant woodland for future generations. I am sure that future generations will note the decision of the Assembly that preserved these important places.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.25): The government does not have any difficulty with this motion. It is important that we preserve those pieces of very sensitive environmental land for our own use and for future generations. Ms Tucker, as she intimated in her speech, has written several letters, and I have given her several responses, about the principles that will govern the protection of this area.

I wrote to Ms Tucker on 16 August and assured her that significant tree retention would be central to any assessment of any planning at Harcourt Hill. I also wrote to Ms Tucker on 19 July and outlined the principles and policies contained in the variation to the Territory Plan. These require that remnant woodland communities on the western face of Percival Hill be retained. In that letter I assured Ms Tucker that the high ecological value of these trees was recognised. It is well known to all of us. I said that the woodland community will be retained as a significant component of the planned open space in the Harcourt Hill development, and I stand by that. It will be retained.

The proponent has had some early discussions with PALM and I understand has also met with ACT for Trees and representatives of the conservation council. Detailed plans of their proposal, and in particular the proposed siting of the dwellings and the associated roadworks in relation to the woodland community, have not been presented. There is, I understand, floating around a proposal that the proponent has put up for some 15 dwellings. I understand that originally there were to be only 11. The proposal for 15 does encroach into the woodland. I understand that PALM have indicated to the proponent that it is opposed to that layout. I am saying that the government is against a layout that would go into the woodland. What the proponent has to come up with is a design that matches the desire of the community to save that woodland.

Ms Tucker said that there are some pegs on the site. I am told that the developer has pegged out an ambit claim for the proposed development area. The boundaries are not agreed to by anyone. If any development were to be approved, it would not be allowed to encroach into the woodland.

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