Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 820 ..
(1) Can the Minister advise how much of the $500,000 allocated this financial year for nature conservation has been expended;
(2) Can a detailed list be provided of where money has been expended to date and for what purpose;
(3) If there is money still unexpended from this program how will the remainder be spent this financial year;
(4) Will there be a change of focus for the expenditure of any left over funds following the January bushfires;
(5) Will there be a change of focus for this spending in the future (ie: out year funding) following the January bushfires.
Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:
(1) Expenditure on the Government's Nature Conservation Initiative in the current financial year amounts to approximately $288,000 to 28 February 2003.
(2) Funds have been expended to date on the following components of the three year program announced by the Minister for Urban Services in his statement to the Assembly on 6 June 2002 - "A Sustainable Bush Capital in the New Millenium".
Additional staff and equipment for park management, community relations and essential conservation activities;
The development of a computer based natural resource information management system;
Reviewing conservation priorities and management directions for conservation efforts including the Action Plan for threatened grassy box woodlands;
Improved support for community volunteer groups involved in environmental activities; and
Enhanced education and information programs for the community.
(3) The funds unexpended to date will be expended over the remaining months of the current financial year in accordance with the original objectives of the Government as outlined in the statement to the Assembly by the Minister for Urban Services.
(4) The funds provided in the current year are part of a total commitment to provide $1.5 million over three years. Consequently, at this point of the program there are no funds considered to be left over. Despite the disastrous bushfires the Government remains committed to nature conservation as outlined in the statement "A Sustainable Bush Capital in the New Millenium"
(5) Overall, the focus of spending over the three years of the program will not be changed by the January bushfires.