Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3242 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
remediation and weed control, and we must be grateful that the Landcare/Parkcare movement has been so strong in the ACT that much of this crucial work can be carried on.
One of the biggest shifts in how Landcare works has occurred over the past six or seven years, with Landcare and similar groups linking up to form catchment groups and the catchment groups themselves feeding into larger natural resource plans, such as the one put together by the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Board. In other words, we have seen the activities of small community-based groups expand, to be fed into and be part of much bigger and more significant plans and actions, in terms of biodiversity, soil and water quality, and community capacity building.
In the ACT you can see that growth through the Southern ACT and Ginninderra catchment groups. The rural lessees have recently agreed to join together to form the Tharwa Landcare Group. There have now been two meetings of the Molonglo Catchment Group, which covers a large area incorporating an urban water catchment area that runs across the ACT-New South Wales border. This project, perhaps the most substantial in the area of community participation in land and environmental protection in the region, was given effect by a small ACT government grant to the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra.
We are at another crucial point in the evolution of this movement. The Commonwealth government funding is now in question, particularly for co-ordinators and facilitators. The ACT government, like the states, is loath to pick up all the extra costs. We should remember that the Molonglo group has only come together through the work of a facilitator and that there is only funding now for 21/2 days a week and only until the end of this year. That is not enough support for such a large, complex and important project.
I also congratulate Lanyon High School for winning its award, and I use this motion as an opportunity to remind the Assembly that, despite the enormous unpaid community involvement and the growing awareness across Australia, it is possible to make small, collaborative contributions to large-scale solutions. But, without some ongoing and serious support-the facilitation and co-ordination-we may see the Landcare groups mark time or fall back, rather than get to the next stage.
Mrs Dunne did not raise this, but when the Liberal government was in the ACT, there were ongoing issues at that time, too, that were related. There was quite a bit of concern at one point because the grants were going to the groups, and then most of the money was going out to pay Urban Services for heavy machinery. I remember there being quite a bit of debate about whether that was an appropriate use of the Landcare grants.
At this point in time, as I said, we are still seeing a lack of support, certainly from the Commonwealth government. I hope that Mrs Dunne will be writing in the strongest terms to her federal colleagues after her speech supporting Landcare today, which I commend her for, and that she makes representations to the federal government on this issue. I am also aware that the ACT government has responsibilities here and that, as much as possible, it needs to support the groups, particularly through facilitators.
MRS BURKE (11.51): Mr Speaker, I am pleased to join other members in this place in congratulating our Landcare workers for their outstanding work. I commend