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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 149 ..

MR QUINLAN: On election day, unless there were others under your rock at the time, most people knew exactly how many police we intended to increase the force by, which was 30 over three years.

Namadgi National Park

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. I refer to recent media reports and public concern about more environmental damage in Namadgi caused by Transgrid. What is the extent of the latest environmental damage?

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I expect members saw the publicity in the media about that damage. A week ago Environment ACT staff discovered an area near Piccadilly Circus in Namadgi National Park that was disturbed by a bulldozer. The disturbed area was about 200 metres long. Right in front of that area is a sign that says:

Revegetation area

Keep off.

It is a bit hard to see how that damage could have occurred. The incident was particularly disturbing following that earlier damage half way through the year.

Initial investigations indicate that Transgrid, that is, the New South Wales government-owned corporation, were removing log barriers on access roads along sections of the easement, as part of their easement management. The work was not approved by Environment ACT.

Environment ACT and investigators from the ACT Government Solicitor's Office are investigating the latest incident, along with the broader investigation into Transgrid's activities on the easement that I was talking about earlier. It is also the case that the New South Wales parliament is examining the matter.

MS GALLAGHER: You may have answered my supplementary. What action is the government taking concerning this and the previous very serious incident?

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, following that earlier very, very significant incident, on 8 May a show-cause letter was sent to Transgrid and on 21 May an environment protection order was issued to Transgrid which required it to take immediate steps to prevent any further damage caused by the clearing. Transgrid was also required to prepare a plan for the repair of the damage already caused and to develop a plan to prevent future occurrences. That would seem to be urgently needed.

Currently, a heavy investigation is continuing by Environment ACT and by the ACT Government Solicitor's Office into the circumstances, to determine whether Transgrid should be prosecuted. Offences may have been committed under the Environment Protection Act, the Nature Conservation Act and the Land (Planning and Environment) Act. There is also an investigation in New South Wales.

Following that investigation, the evidence will be presented to the DPP, who will decide whether to prosecute. That inquiry will extend into this latest incident as well.

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