Page 702 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Dr Foskey. I regret that I am not aware of the question you asked of the Treasurer or of his answer. I do not have the level of detail in relation to the business case or issues around it, or essentially of its existence, other than the basis of the question, and I regret that. I am more than happy to take advice on the substance of the question you ask, namely around the release or availability of the business case and its assessment. I am sure you will consider it reasonable of me to take some advice on the nature of the status of the document, as I simply do not know. I am happy to do that at this juncture, unless there are issues around commercial confidentiality or some other confidentiality reason for its non-release. I cannot imagine why it would not be.

Let me address some of the assertions, the statements of fact that constituted a preamble to your question. The debate we are having, or at least that the Canberra Times is seeking to generate in relation to the evil of pine forests—and let us be under no illusion about the nature of the journalism that we have all experienced over the last week—is all about an ideological assault on pine forests. The furphy about the quality of our water has just been addressed by the Minister for Health—the furphy about arsenic in the water, or herbicides or pesticides contaminating it and all of us being poisoned in our kitchens. The fright that the Canberra Times has generated today—unnecessarily, and in a most unscientific way, as a subterfuge for an assault on a decision to plant pine trees—is just a bit rich. I don’t accept this scientific—I mean, who are these scientists who over the last few days have provided the evidence that the worst thing you can do—

Members interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: Well, no, that’s not true.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Can everybody please cease with the interjections. It would be better if the Chief Minister did not respond to them.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I won’t. The range of assertions claimed or notionally asserted as fact in the preamble to Dr Foskey’s question really are at the heart of the debate around an approach to the revegetation, the re-establishment and the regeneration of the Cotter catchment. The government sought expert advice and received it. We received it through an exhaustive process—namely, the Shaping our Territory report. The report, in its presentation to me by the chairman of the group, was presented as a document reflecting a consensus—that is, all 13 members of the committee notionally endorsed the document. Thirteen people signed off on this report. They provided a consensus report on a way forward in relation to the rejuvenation of the Cotter catchment involving the planting of pines, appropriately, and that is what is being pursued. The members of the committee included Sandy Hollway, Maureen Cane, Peter Cullen, Robert de Castella, Dorte Ekeland, Ted Evans, Kevin Jeffery, Peter Kanowski, Annabelle Pegrum, Terry Snow—and we know that Mrs Dunne hates Terry Snow—Alan Thompson, Robert Tonkin and Robert Wasson. Those committee members signed off on this consensus report and here we are suggesting that they did not present a rigorous and scientific assessment of all the options and all the issues.

The consultant team was led by project managers Bovis Lend Lease. There were a range of specialist consultants to the committee of inquiry including ACIL Tasman, Alistair Grinbergs Heritage Solutions, Conacher Travers, Create Media, David Hogg, Forestry

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