Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 909 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Does the government really need to have a battle with local communities over the destruction of endangered woodland as each new phase of development begins? Isn't it far better to revise the land release program in light of these inquiries and processes and review the Territory Plan-in consultation with the community-to protect these areas so that we have sound environmental protection in place and sensible land release planning operating around that?
In the interest of successful planning and governing for the community, I urge members to support the motion.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11. 05): Mr Speaker, the government clearly understands the sentiment Ms Tucker has raised in her motion, and it is true to say that a range of studies that deal with future land use is currently being undertaken. Among these is the spatial planning work, which is looking at what has become known as "future urban capable land"-that is, land potentially available for urban development but not currently designated as such under the Territory Plan.
There is also other work being done for areas identified as non-urban land. That revolves around the potential future of the land occupied by the territory's softwood pine plantations. Then there is the work currently being undertaken by the government through the ACT woodlands conservation strategy, which is looking particularly at the yellow box/red gum grassy woodland community. A range of analyses is under way.
The government does not disagree with Ms Tucker that the land release program needs to be revised in light of any findings of these pieces of work. That is what the government does now. It will continually revise the land use program to respond to new circumstances and new pieces of information coming to light.
That is why we deferred the release at east O'Malley. That is why other land was withdrawn from the land release program and alternative parcels of land, wherever possible, were substituted. So the government is doing that now, and the government has no disagreement with point 1 of the second part of Ms Tucker's motion. It is point 2 of the second part of Ms Tucker's motion that the government has some concern about.
That part calls on the government to review the Territory Plan to ensure that all areas of high and very high conservation value yellow box/red gum grassy woodland and natural temperate grassland be given long-term protection. The government believes that this approach in itself pre-empts the result of the studies that are being undertaken.
The whole point of the analysis being conducted through the woodlands conservation strategy is to determine the best way to ensure the ecological integrity and effective protection of those remnant parcels of yellow box/red gum grassy woodland. Ms Tucker herself pre-empts those studies by saying that all of those high and very high quality woodlands should be protected-even if they are isolated pockets, without any connectivity and without any capacity to ensure the overall protection of this ecosystem as a viable ecosystem.
There is very little point, apart from an aesthetic one, in protecting a very small stand of trees, with no effective understorey, in the middle of an urban area. There is very little