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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1122 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

scheme and the extent to which the States and Territories will be required to contribute financially. It therefore seems unlikely that the national scheme will be up and running by 30 June. To cover this contingency, the Bill removes the expiration date and allows the payment of subsidies in relation to sales after 30 June 2001.

In addition, because it is not known when the national scheme will commence, a replacement date for the cessation of subsidy payments cannot be set. To address this uncertainty, it is therefore also necessary to amend the Act to allow the payment of subsidies to continue until such time as the uniform national scheme becomes operational.

Mr Speaker, the Bill will have no additional budget impact for this fiscal year, as the subsidy scheme is funded until 30 June 2001. Should the scheme continue through 2001-02, estimated funding of about $1 million per annum will be required.

In addition to these amendments, the Bill also includes some minor technical amendments to the Act.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Tree Protection (Interim Scheme) Bill 2001

Mr Smyth , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.37): Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to bring to the Assembly today a bill for the interim protection of trees in the Australian Capital Territory pending the establishment of a significant tree register.

In August last year the government tabled its response to report No 44 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services, entitled An appropriate tree management and protection policy for the ACT. In its response, the government agreed that, following a period of consultation with the community, it would establish a significant tree register. The protection provided by this bill will allow consultation papers for the establishment of a significant tree register to be released into the public realm without risk of accelerated tree loss, which has sometimes preceded the introduction of tree protection initiatives in other jurisdictions.

The bill provides protection for those trees on urban leased territory land which are likely to be included on a significant tree register once it is established. The definition of a significant or protected tree in the bill is deliberately conservative and is not intended to protect all trees in the territory-only those likely to be found significant. Neither will the bill put a halt on development in the territory. Rather, it will require developers to consider first development options which would allow the tree to be saved.

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