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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1302 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

An important part of the management plan will be restoring the woodland understorey and recording the planting and other activities to be undertaken by the community. This will provide an educative tool that will enable the Government and community to consider undertaking similar partnerships elsewhere.

Work on this estate will build upon the Government's commitment to high quality sustainable development-

I stress the next bit-

and will incorporate appropriate buffer areas between development and open space and best practice urban water management initiatives where appropriate.

I would like to put on record our view that this partnership approach has been largely a success story. The Watson Woodlands Working Group has been working with the government and its consultant, Purdon and Associates, in a way that could provide an example to be used as an educative tool and form a basis for undertaking similar partnerships elsewhere. But the one issue causing considerable concern that the government and the community group have not been able to find agreement on is that of what constitutes appropriate buffer areas between development and open space.

Planning for the land release is proceeding rapidly. I understand that the government hopes to have the first blocks on sale by May. But this planning is being done on the basis of an inadequate buffer having been provided for. The purpose of my motion is to increase this buffer so that this development does form the sort of good example that the minister expressed hopes for. More recently, Mr Stanhope, as Minister for the Environment, has made many strong statements about the need to understand the relative value, particularly of endangered grassy woodlands.

The narrow buffer currently provided for is not something that the community group has ever approved of or agreed to. I understand that it was decided between ministers Corbell and Wood and had to do with the management issues involved in maintaining the buffer land provided for. Because of these origins, it has become known as the ministers' line, but the rationale for it is a mystery to the community.

The Watson Woodlands Working Group maintains that a buffer of at least 50 metres is needed if we are to avoid significant ecological effects on the lower part of the reserve. Effectively, the current buffer between the urban edge and the woodland is little more than the provision of a road plus about five metres of the grasslands. Any ecologist the ministers speak to will tell them that a 21-metre buffer which is primarily hard-surface road and very little grassland is inadequate to protect the ecology of the woodland.

This does not amount to the appropriate buffer that the minister promised. In this instance, the minister has not delivered. This motion is the last chance for us to ensure that an adequate buffer is delivered. While the woodland part of the grassy woodland has been preserved, the grassy part has been somewhat left off-with the urban edge, comprising the development and the road, coming more or less right up to the trees.

The Watson Woodlands Working Group supports the inclusion of the road as the primary divider between the suburb and the reserve, but points to the detrimental effects

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