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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1678 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

In conclusion, if this government is committed to strategic planning and to sustainability, then it should not just assume that it is business as usual in our pine forests. I hope that it will show some vision and leadership and take the time to review the planning implications of the Christmas bushfires and make the most of the situation.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (5.58): At first reading, Ms Tucker's motion is a simple and reasonable approach. We have an area of land dedicated to pine forest that has been devastated. It has been cleared. Therefore, is it not logical to re-examine what we do with that land? That would appear to be a fairly normal arrangement. I can understand where Ms Tucker is coming from, but the government does not support the motion. As I run through the details, you will understand why.

I note the Democrats' amendments, which are also eminently reasonable, but I think in the circumstances they cannot be supported either. As you will hear, the pine plantation is not so large that we can hive off bits of it. It is really a very difficult step to contemplate a change in direction either for the whole or for a part of it.

At Christmas time, 500 hectares of the Stromlo plantation was burnt by a wildfire that was deliberately lit, very effectively lit, by a professional but someone unknown to this day. The fire impacted significantly on the landscape around Greenhills and Lady Denman Drive, on logs supplies to the ACT timber industry and on recreational opportunities in the pine plantation.

The government has considered-indeed, over a number of years governments have considered-the issues involved in the forest, and in this specific case in replanting the burnt area. In this specific case, after that consideration, the government is of the firm opinion that most of the Stromlo pine plantation should be replaced with pine this winter. But we acknowledge that the area close to Lake Burley Griffin should not be replanted as a commercial pine plantation. That area between the lake and Tuggeranong Parkway should not go back to pine plantation. It is under the control of the National Capital Authority, which will be responsible for determining what types of trees are replanted there.

I am aware that a range of community views have been expressed about replanting the area around Lady Denman Drive. It is my understanding that all of those views will be properly considered by the National Capital Authority before a final decision is made on the type of replanting to be undertaken in that area.

The ACT government has cleared the burnt trees and will complete the clean-up of this area before handing the land back to the National Capital Authority. The government is involved in ongoing discussions with the NCA and has offered to assist with their replanting program on this site once they have decided on its future.

As Mr Smyth knows, an approach has been made to the government about the land adjacent to the zoo and a possible expansion of the zoo. That matter is presently being considered, and no decision has been reached at this stage.

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