Page 751 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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the upper Cotter, not the lower Cotter. These particular allegations in relation to that were not put to me and I was unable to respond to them specifically. I do know, however, from conversations between ACTEW and Professor Williams since the article appeared, that Professor Williams sought to explain quite significantly the nature of the comment and the nature of his contact with ACTEW and the ACT government post fire, and the nature of any advice that he may or may not have provided to the ACT government.

I have also subsequently received correspondence from CSIRO scientists, in relation to the claims put forward of Dr Williams, in which they take serious exception to the suggestion that the CSIRO was not involved. They directly contradict Professor Williams and actually refer to reports that were provided by CSIRO scientists to ACTEW post fire. They directly contradict the words or the reports in relation to Professor Williams.

Then, on Friday, 4 March, we had the continuing saga: “Govt told not to replant pines at Cotter: ecologist”. That story of course centres on the ecologist Peter Cullen’s allegations that he told the government in March 2003 not to replant pines in the catchment. Of course, it is the same Peter Cullen, Professor Peter Cullen, who was a formal member of the committee tasked by the ACT government to investigate the very issue of the restoration of the Cotter, which ultimately recommended, amongst a suite of recommendations, that pines should—or could—quite freely be planted in parts of the Cotter catchment, having regard, of course, to issues around importance to protect the quality of water and that pines not be planted in riverine areas or on particularly steep slopes. The article did not go on to explain that the advice that Professor Cullen had provided to the government was provided in March 2003, quite six or seven months before he signed off on a specific recommendation that they could be.

Mr Hollway has indicated that there was vigorous debate amongst members of the committee, and between the committee and consultants, about the appropriate way forward. This is a complex and difficult issue. Professor Cullen did express a view in March 2003 to Environment ACT about the replanting of pines. By November of that same year, Professor Cullen advised the government, through his participation in the Shaping our Territory subgroup, that he supported the planting of pines. This is what is reported of Professor Cullen. I have to say that, if Professor Cullen—and this surprises me—has resiled from his November 2003 position, he has not done me the courtesy of advising me that that is his position. He has not walked away from the report. It is there in black and white: Peter Cullen supported the recommendation that pines be replanted in the Cotter. It says that.

Mrs Dunne: Table it. Where does it say that?

MR STANHOPE: It says it quite explicitly.

Mrs Dunne: Well, why don’t you table it, then you can highlight it.

MR STANHOPE: You have got the report. Haven’t you read the report?

Mr Smyth: It just says he is part of the study team. It is there: he is part of the team. It does not say—

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