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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1315 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

It is sophisticated, in my view, to look at the map of south-east Australia. Five per cent of such areas is left and we are arguing about whether this area is totally intact. We know that it can be made totally intact. The Watson community are prepared to do that; they

have said that. The argument from the government has been about resources, again. Basically, we are getting economic arguments from the Labor government. We are getting arguments about the resources it would take to look after this area. We are getting arguments about housing loss.

Also, Mr Stanhope chose to use the rather low tactic in his contribution to the debate of saying, "Are you saying that if we have this one, we will not save and protect the grasslands in Gungahlin?"I do not know why he had to do that. I have already said in the debate that we have extra land available because of the fires. We have land available in car parks in the city. If there was a serious understanding of sustainability by this government, it would know that there is much land available for development for housing in car parks. If we had a government which understood sustainability was planning for the future and was putting in public transport instead of freeways, we would be able to free up a lot of that land around the city. That was a very false argument from Mr Stanhope. All I can assume is that he is struggling with this matter.

A basic point I want to repeat is that this land can be restored. A buffer zone is not just about whether the actual grasslands are intact. A buffer zone is about protecting the "nice"trees. They do have habitat value; they are pre-settlement trees. The buffer zone is about protecting them. But, as I pointed out in my initial speech, that buffer zone is also about having a sweep and a change in the landscape from Mount Majura down.

As I said-I will repeat it as people seem to like repeating things, so I will do that, too-the Watson community have said that they are prepared to put the resources in to regenerate this area. If the government is just worried about resources and the resourcing implications of maintaining this area, they have got a community who care about it and a community who are prepared to put energy into it because they appreciate the ecological value as well as the community amenity.

Ms Dundas talked about community benefits, not just environmental benefits. I stress again that there is a particular community issue here that I do not think the government is giving significant attention to, that is, the importance of acting in good faith with election promises. I am sorry, but what I see happening in this place on a number of environmental issues is causing total disillusionment with the Labor government. I am sorry about that, because I supported the Labor government. I supported Jon Stanhope as Chief Minister. I know people voted for them because of what they said on particular environmental issues and I know that those people think they have been betrayed. That is a social issue. That is about social capital. That is about faith in the institution and democracy.

Question put:

That Ms Tucker's motion be agreed to.

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