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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1305 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Emergency Services) (9.03): The government does not agree with the amendment or the proposal. I have had quite a deal to do with this issue, more than most in this chamber.

Mr Smyth: Because you've always wanted it to be residential.

MR WOOD: Mr Smyth, I have wanted to do several things. Over the years when I was Minister for Planning, I wanted to protect those trees, and that was always going to be the case. There was never any issue about that. The value of that area really lies in the trees. It is acknowledged, I think conceded, that the understorey has been grazed and is totally degraded. There is nothing there that is natural. When we look at that area we have in mind those very nice trees, scattered in some areas and in clumps in other places, and they were never to be part of any housing blocks. Subsequently, a very fine community group maintained its interest in the area and the government-the opposition of the day-defined its policy and it agreed that the trees would be protected as a whole. It was the trees that would be protected. The government of this day has delivered on the commitments that were given at the time.

Ms Tucker asks for a large buffer. As the two ministers at the time, Mr Corbell and I went out there and looked at it on site, as I had done on many occasions and as he had done. We looked at the maps, we took advice from officers and we did exactly what Ms Tucker wants. We provided a large buffer. We did that. Take a look at the map. Go and stand on the site and take a look at it. We provided a large buffer. We delivered on a commitment that Mr Corbell had given. I want to say 20 times that that buffer is very large. To seek to increase it further is just amazing. I just do not know what it would achieve.

There are no grasses there that need to be protected. All the technical advice, uncontested over the period, talks about the understorey not being there. There are wishes and there have been claims to restore the native grasses. I can understand that and I hope that it will happen under the trees in the future. The community group that will emerge may do that, but it is no easy task to restore native grasses. I think that that is generally conceded. I think that the trees are well protected and the area is well protected. As the minister who, with Mr Corbell, drew the line, I can tell you how we shifted it and moved it to provide exactly for the very large buffer that has been asked for. Folks, it is there.

MRS DUNNE (9.07): Mr Speaker, the Liberal opposition will not be supporting Ms Tucker's motion tonight because for as long as I have worked in this place, since May 1996, I have been constantly advised by officers of Environment ACT and the forerunners whenever this has been an issue that, although the trees were nice and the trees were significant, the understorey was degraded. It was nice to see Mr Wood come in here tonight and admit that. It would have been good for the Labor Party to have admitted that when it was in opposition in June 2001 rather than-

Mr Wood: What did I say then?

MRS DUNNE: They did actually admit that the understorey was degraded but, come hell or high water, the Labor Party, when it was in opposition, was going to save this piece of land. How the times have changed! You got into government and you suddenly went to water. The thing is that the Labor Party here are the bogeys in this regard,

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