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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1752 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Because of some fortunate historical and geographical circumstances, we have a greater proportion of woodland here than in the surrounding region. However, I do not think this means that we do not have to protect any more areas. On the contrary, I think we have a responsibility to make the ACT a form of land bank for remnant woodlands, to make up in a small way for the loss of woodlands in the surrounding region.

This area can be regenerated, and I believe there is significant interest in the Watson community to take on a landcare role in this area if given the chance, although it should not just be left to the local residents. Government needs to take the prime responsibility for the open space in Canberra. I do not think the areas already gazetted by the government for open space are large enough to protect the ecological values of this area. While it may be possible to keep some of the remnant trees outside of this area within a residential development, they will be quite isolated, incapable of regeneration and always subject to the threat of pruning or removal by developers and new householders. The government's tree protection scheme will not totally stop the clearing of the trees left in the development area.

As the amendment I was proposing to move to Mr Corbell's motion provided, the area should be declared a nature reserve incorporated into Canberra Nature Park. I am concerned that just designating it as open space will not give the area enough protection or sufficient management into the future. By designating this area public land, there will be an obligation on government to prepare a management plan for the area under the land act. This would not apply if the area was zoned as open space. The area needs to be managed carefully in order to rehabilitate it. I am concerned that if it is left as open space to be managed by Canberra Urban Parks and Places then it will not get the attention that it deserves. Ecologically, the area is a continuation of the woodland across Antill Street and the Mount Majura section of Canberra Nature Park, and it needs to be managed as such.

I move the following amendment to Mr Smyth's amendment:

Omit all words after "residential development", substitute "or to change the land use policy to Urban Open Space or Hills, Ridges and Buffer Areas with a Public Land- Nature Reserve overlay.".

MR OSBORNE (3.59): I know that Mr Corbell and Ms Tucker have been attempting to catch up with me today. I am not exactly up to speed on what is happening here, apart from what has been discussed in the debate. In the last 12 to 18 months, I have taken a very conservative view on development, tree protection orders and all of those types of things. I am as concerned as anybody about ensuring that we get it right. One comment Ms Tucker made to me today was that there are 400-year-old trees there, and I said, "We have already saved them." Decisions of this nature need to be taken quite carefully.

I was concerned about supporting Mr Corbell's motion, given that I did not have a lot of information about it but, looking at Mr Smyth's amendment and Ms Tucker's amendment to it, I think it is quite reasonable that PALM conduct a wide-ranging review and that ultimately we make a decision based on that.

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