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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4461 ..

(e) attract fauna;

(f) prevent erosion; and

(g) act as wind breaks.

(6) Please confirm when the new trees in each plantation or each area will be planted;

(7) How widely disseminated is the Community Update and would it cover all 20 areas listed in the article at paragraph two and have residents of these 20 areas been advised of this logging;

(8) Please advise why, in a media statement issued by Environment ACT on 16 September 2003 entitled "Fuel Reduction Strategies Necessary to Protect Life and Property", Mr John Nicholson is stated as having endorsed the work being undertaken by the ACT in clearing these areas, yet it had been confirmed by an officer from Environment ACT on 18 September that the report by Mr Nicholson is not yet finished, and that Dr Maxine Cooper has not yet sighted the final report.

Mr Stanhope

: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:

(1) The only intensive clearing will be at Oakey Hill and O'Connor Ridge, (where Blue Gum and Radiata Pine plantations will be removed), together with clearing under major powerlines, the burnt pine plantations, and narrower margins adjacent to rear fences in several suburbs. Thinning and individual tree removal will take place at other locations.

(2) Fuel reduction works involving Blue Gum plantations will take place at seven locations within Canberra Nature Park: Oakey Hill, Cooleman Ridge, Mt Taylor, Farrer Ridge, O'Connor Ridge, Duntroon Dairy and Red Hill.

(3) Up to 3000 Blue Gums, the majority of which are dead, are to be removed at Oakey Hill. Of approximately 250 trees adjacent to houses in Lyons, 130 are Blue Gums and are to be removed. The trees to be removed have not been counted elsewhere.

The work at Oakey Hill commenced on Friday 19 September 2003. It is expected that by the end of November 2003 all works will be completed. Delays have been experienced due to wet weather and mechanical breakdown. Work is stopped when the ground is wet to minimise damage to the soil.

The operation will then move to O'Connor Ridge.

The powerline clearance work is now substantially complete, as is the clearance for the perimeter pine plantations. The other areas of clearance are expected to be largely complete by January 2004.

(4) The area of broad acre blue gum plantings at Oakey hill is approximately 6.5 ha and the number of trees removed was not individually counted for operational reasons. However, an estimate was made on the number of trees removed in the broadacre plantings. This was based on the original trees planted at a spacing of 3.5 by 3.5 metres, giving approximately 800 trees per hectare. Prior to the January fires not all of these trees survived due to fairly shallow soils and there were a large number of gaps and openings in the planted area. The estimate has been revised to take this into account and the final estimate is approximately 1000 mature overstorey trees and 2300 understorey saplings of poor form.

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