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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1582 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Aerial and satellite imagery has played a key role in the management of the bushfire recovery process, particularly with regards to catchment management. The budget provides support for continued collection and collation of data to assist with effective planning for recovery of natural and cultural assets, with $130,000 in 2003-04 and $40,000 per annum for ongoing data management.

The government considers community involvement as a key to recovery and environmental protection. The budget provides $200,000 in 2003-04 and a further $100,000 the following year towards fostering partnerships with the community in the planning and implementation of conservation and restoration works along the Murrumbidgee River corridor and the Cotter catchment.

The development and implementation of operational plans for the control of weeds and feral animals is pivotal to fire recovery, and will be undertaken as a matter of priority. To mitigate potential threats to the environment, the budget allocates $2 million over three years for restoration and rehabilitation of fire trails cut during the fire fighting effort. A further $1 million over three years is provided for additional weed suppression effort in Canberra Nature Park, Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

A lowland woodland conservation strategy is a key conservation initiative for the territory. The strategy sets a framework for the protection of the endangered ecological community yellow box/red gum grassy woodland. The budget provides $640,000 in 2003-04 and a further $1 million over the following three years to support enhanced management of endangered grassy woodlands, and other woodlands.

Mr Speaker, the government will enhance the operation of the Environment Protection Act 1997, including the efficiency and effectiveness of the Environment Protection Authority. The recent drought has highlighted the need for a strategic approach to the management of the territory's water resources through a strategy to address issues of water quality as well as quantity, and catchment management. The budget provides $750,000 over the next four years for both the act and the authority, as well as the development of a water resources strategy.

Against the backdrop of the continuing drought and falling water levels in the ACT, the government will increase the water abstraction charge by 10c per kilolitre. This recognises the value of water to the territory and the importance of encouraging sensible use of this scarce resource.


True to Labor's priorities, education receives significant support from this budget.

The 2003-04 budget allocates $10.2 million across four years for projects within the school gate, as part of the government's $27 million commitment.

In a major commitment by this government, every government high school will receive a youth worker to complement existing counselling and welfare services. The proposal

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