Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 17 February 2005) . . Page.. 559 ..
Mr Speaker, the committee considered DV209 at meetings on 11 and 18 January and on 1 February 2005 and recommended that this variation be noted after much consultation with members of the community, Environment ACT, the ACT Planning and Land Authority, the ACT Commissioner for the Environment, and the Conservation Council of the South-East Region and Canberra. As the extension of the Mount Mugga Mugga nature reserve is likely to have broad support within the ACT government and the community, the committee decided to proceed directly to report and not to call for submissions or hold public hearings.
The committee recommends that Environment ACT work with interested community stakeholders to restore woodland habitat in the Mount Mugga Mugga nature reserve as a matter of priority. Whether weeding and natural regeneration or some revegetation is required should be assessed. This is consistent with the planning and conservation issues identified for the Mugga Lane west unit in the ACT lowland woodland conservation strategy.
This proposed variation to the territory plan primarily increases the size of the Mount Mugga Mugga nature reserve by removing the residential land use policy from about 66 hectares of mostly yellow box/red gum grassy woodland on the eastern edge of the suburb of O’Malley. The proposed variation also replaces the existing residential land use policy on sections 38, 39, 40 and 42 with the urban open space land use policy. This will create an open space corridor of about 2.5 hectares through the east O’Malley residential estate. Pedestrian paths and a playground are planned for the area.
The ACT Commissioner for the Environment has welcomed the protection of the yellow box/red gum woodland in east O’Malley. The 2003 state of the environment report says that the ecological communities at greatest risk in the ACT are grasslands and lowland woodlands, particularly endangered yellow box/red gum grassy woodland. By the end of the reporting period there were 10,870 hectares of this endangered woodland in the ACT, of which 2,345 hectares were in nature reserves. This is a significant and high-quality component of the 25,200 hectares that remain in the ACT and surrounding region.
The ACT easily meets the regional forests assessments target of retaining 15 per cent of the original extent within its own borders. The remaining 25,200 hectares are only 8.5 per cent of the original regional extent of yellow box/red gum grassy woodland. The recommendation of the committee to consider the proposals to replace 66 hectares of land that was originally intended for residential development in east O’Malley with high-quality yellow box/red gum grassy woodland and other woodlands is highly commendable.
I thank those involved in the consultation process.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.27): I want to make brief comments about draft variation to the territory plan No 209, relating to east O’Malley and extension of the Mount Mugga Mugga nature reserve. I want to have it noted that the Greens have opposed the development that is in progress adjacent to this reserve and I want to raise questions for the Assembly to consider about the net contribution that this new development will make—I have visited it—in terms of the impact on the environment.