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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2288 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

What does that mean? It means we get rangers, who are currently sitting in offices in Environment ACT doing paperwork, out, working with Landcare groups, park care groups, areas of Canberra Nature Park, Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. That is what we are doing. We are making sure we use resources wisely and efficiently and that we get qualified ranger staff out in the parks and reserves, working with the local community, instead of sitting in an office doing paperwork and regulatory work. That is what this government is investing in.

That is a significant improvement in the overall reserve management system in the electorate of Brindabella and right around the city, Mr Speaker. Again, that shows how dreadful and lax the previous government was. In six years of the administration-actually nearly seven years-of Canberra Nature Park, they were unable to achieve that kind of increase for nature conservation activity.

That is the record of this government in just seven months, Mr Speaker-significant benefits for the residents of Brindabella. Mr Hargreaves is to be commended for bringing this motion forward.

MS MacDONALD (4.56): Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Hargreaves for his motion, and I am eager to speak to it.

As a member for Brindabella, I eagerly awaited yesterday's budget. I was hoping that representations from Mr Hargreaves, myself, and of course Mr Wood, in his joint role as local member and minister, would be taken on board and funded. Mr Speaker, they were funded, and funded handsomely. I wish I had the ability to make Mr Quinlan an honorary member for Brindabella. Apart from those of Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth, I do not think there would be any objections.

My favourite part of yesterday's budget speech was watching the Liberal opposition, but particularly Mr Smyth and Mr Pratt, squirming and turning green, realising that Labor had delivered a very good budget. The pool being run by the Liberals, betting on the size of the deficit, turned out to be a waste of time. The budget is $6 million in the black, and even the opposition leader this morning had to concede that he agreed with that figure.

Liberal Party jealousy reached epidemic proportions last week when members of the opposition took to the streets of Canberra, madly chasing government members and journalists around the suburbs. It was all too obvious that members of the Liberal Party would do and say anything to put a dampener on budget initiatives.

Mr Smyth has been most vocal. It was laughable last week when he and Mr Pratt turned up in his speeding me-too-mobile, after the announcement of the Drakeford Drive duplication. He was chasing the journalists, stammering, "We were gunna do it! We were gunna do it too!" It was a sight to behold, Mr Speaker.

Mr Quinlan: It was a source of much mirth.

MS MacDONALD: Indeed. That strategy has become the entire Liberal method for Canberra in the 2002 budget initiatives. The best argument the opposition can come up with to counter any 2002 budget initiatives is to say, "We were gunna do something about it."

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