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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1361 ..

Land (Planning and Environment) Act, pursuant to section 29-Variation (No 89) to the Territory Plan relating to the Murrumbidgee and Lower Molonglo Rivers-River corridors land use policy: Public land categories and other minor changes, together with background papers, a copy of the summaries and reports, and a copy of any direction or report required.

In accordance with the provisions of the act, this variation is presented with the background papers, a copy of the summaries and reports, and I seek leave to have a short statement incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows:

Mr Speaker, Variation No 89 to the Territory Plan proposes to make some minor amendments to the overlays and land use policies in the Territory Plan for the areas within the Murrumbidgee and Lower Molonglo River corridors. The changes in this Variation reflect changes recommended by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to make the public land categories in the Territory Plan consistent with management objectives.

The Variation was released as a draft for public comment in January 1998, and 7 written submissions were received.

The draft Variation was then referred to the then Standing Committee on Urban Services which called for further public submissions. Public hearings were held by the Committee on 6 and 13 November 1998, followed by a site visit on 20 November 1998. The National Parks Association made representations to the Committee along with three rural lessees (Mr Coonan, Mr Tanner and Mr Gale on behalf of Mr Austin lessee of "The Rivers" property incorporating "Huntley").

In the case of Mr Tanner and Mr Coonan, the public land boundaries were revised to address their concerns. However after additional consultation it was not possible to reach a fully agreed position with Mr Gale. Although Environment ACT staff inspected the proposed new public land boundary alignment with Mr Gale, he was unhappy about losing stock access to the Molonglo River in the future.

It should be noted that the proposed boundary, when fenced, would not prevent access to the river for water extraction, but rather that stock would be restricted in their access to the river. The boundary would not be fenced until the lease is renewed. A new lease would not include the area of public land (Nature Reserve) along the river.

Mr Gale has argued that fencing the river area would deprive a number of existing paddocks of water. As a general policy, Environment ACT would provide assistance with off-river stock watering points and provide poly-piping to assist with water reticulation, but more substantial capital works would be the responsibility of the lessee. Any change from this policy would be inconsistent with the practices implemented in other areas along the river and other rivers including the Murrumbidgee.

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