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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3248 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

done highlighting the nature of the trees on this site; and drawing together a really diverse group.

I would like to thank Helen Brewer who has been such a strong leader of this campaign, who has worked incredibly hard and in the process has learnt a lot about planning regulations in the ACT and who has herself faced the problems that can exist when you try to deal with planning issues and the hurdles you have to leap over.

The motion I move today is a simple one that calls on the government to negotiate with the owners for a land swap or compensation. I believe that it is in the government's power to do this. I hope that the Assembly supports this motion and the government takes the time to preserve these trees.

We just can't let another development ruin our bush capital, especially when there are simple alternatives. As one campaigner has said, it is a shame that these valuable trees were sold in the first place and it would be a tragedy if development goes ahead.

MS TUCKER (12.10): The Greens will be supporting this motion. We believe that, where there are suitable sites for property development, these sites be developed prior to sites which have important environmental or social value. It seems fairly clear that there are alternative and suitable sites within the Belconnen area and that this Nettlefold Street block should be left alone.

I acknowledge that the sale of this block for commercial development followed proper process when it was sold, and the Greens support a consistent process for land sale and development. However, I think we should remember that these significant trees are not new; at least one is 300 years old.

The original decision by the Liberal government to sell the site and to not consider the heritage and environmental values was much more offensive than the reluctance of the present government to try to repair the damage, although both really have to be condemned.

I'm very pleased to see the Liberals are now changing their position. I'm assuming they're supporting this motion. I have spoken to Mr Stefaniak at a couple of community events where he told me that he would be supportive of a rethink on this block. So I give credit to him for that flexibility.

Nonetheless, I am concerned about the government's lack of action to preserve these magnificent trees and this bush block in the Belconnen Centre. This block at the corner of Nettlefold Street and Coulter Drive contains a stand of remnant yellow box/red gum trees, some of which are at least 300 years old, as I said. Twelve of these trees are regarded as significant under the tree protection legislation. These trees in this block are not only an important feature of the landscape in Belconnen and for the people who live and use the area but they also provide habitat for native fauna.

Indeed, now that the fires have destroyed so much of the habitat of cockatoo, owls and other birds, trees over 100 years old are very important, and any remnant trees have taken on an added significance after the fires.

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