Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2033 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Key initiatives to be explored include expanded extension services for rural landholders; expanded community involvement and support programs, including greater involvement by schools in management activities; and an expanded program of education and events for the general community and schools. The Tidbinbilla education centre will be a focus of activity and environmental interpretation programs will continue to feature strongly.

The Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra is the peak environmental organisation for community groups in the ACT. In recognition of its role as a source of community views and advice and as an environmental advocate, the government has provided dedicated funding assistance to the council so that it can continue its work with greater certainty of financial support. Similar arrangements have been made for the Canberra Environment Centre as a community environmental education and information resource.

A key characteristic of natural resource management and environmental protection is the need to collaborate in the identification and resolution of issues at a regional and national scale. This is particularly relevant to the ACT in light of its relatively small size and its potential for interaction with regional environmental processes and management programs. The government will continue support for a regional and strategic approach to conservation of our natural assets being developed by ACT and New South Wales government agencies in collaboration with local government councils in New South Wales and community and industry groups.

Membership of national and regional environmental forums is also an important way of keeping abreast of and contributing to contemporary best practice in natural resource management and environmental protection. The government will continue to participate in relevant environmental forums, such as the Ministerial Council for Natural Resource Management, the Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council and the Primary Industries Ministerial Council.

Participation in these forums will be an important complement to the government's initiative in establishing an office of sustainability, although the focus of the new office will be much wider than just the environment. The Commonwealth government's Natural Heritage Trust and the national action plan for salinity and water quality are important drivers of regional environmental programs in terms of financial support and management priorities. The government is actively pursuing opportunities for the investment of Commonwealth funds into the territory.

Mr Speaker, I conclude by commenting that the environmental character and values of the ACT contribute significantly to the quality of life of the Canberra community. Both government and the community need to work together to ensure that we maintain these qualities for our immediate benefits and as a legacy for those yet to come. These are the signs of a sustainable community. We are well placed to make good progress towards achieving this goal. Our assets are in good shape, our professional capabilities are of a high order and there is a strong groundswell of community and business interest in securing a sustainable future for present and future Canberrans. I believe that the government has identified the key priorities and mechanisms to ensure that this goal can be advanced in an equitable, financially responsible and open manner. I commend them to you.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .