Page 757 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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The work of this partnership involved a series of field visits to the catchment area, where ACT Forests staff and various experts stood on the land under consideration and discussed the best strategy for managing that land, including removing trees on steep land and weed control. Weed control is a vital part of the catchment restoration strategy, as without it the newly-planted natives and pine seedlings will be lost.

Greening Australia has been very active in the regreening partnership, and 20,000 native trees have been planted during 10 very well attended community planting days. I am sure members here have been out there—I know for sure that Mr Smyth has—and joined with me and stuck trees into the ground. These plantings have been on riparian zones and steep land in the catchment, as well as on the slopes of Mount Stromlo. From the outset, ACT Forests has worked with stakeholders and experts to ensure the best outcome. The revegetation strategy being applied is in line with the recommendations of the Shaping our territory report and has involved extensive consultation with academic scientists, community organisations and other government organisations.

Given the size of the operation and the range of challenges associated with the restoration and rehabilitation of burnt forest areas, the progress and achievements over the past two years have been significant. We have a long-term vision to establish 21st century best practice forests that will ensure that high quality water is available from the lower Cotter on an ongoing basis. This is being done in a manner that ensures the views of key stakeholders are being taken into account in improving ground works.

Finally, I wonder sometimes whether or not this is merely Mrs Dunne’s softening up process for the people of the ACT to make sure that, if we do talk about an alternative water supply, we turn our attention on the Tennent dam and not on the Cotter. I really suspect that this is in fact a very mean and tricky way of softening people up for another assault on the catchment counter, and another of her attempts to get a dam out the back and disenfranchise and take property away from people in the Naas Valley.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.23): Today we have heard from the government their standard attack when somebody criticises them—that is to say, “Everybody else is wrong but us.” We had a number of fabulous examples from the Chief Minister, as he is so wont to do. It is now leading to people saying that they have been “Stanhoped”. A couple of key Canberrans have been “Stanhoped” in the course of this debate.

During the course of the debate from the Chief Minister we firstly heard that there was consensus from the committee and we then heard that it was unanimous—“unanimous” means everyone; total; the whole lot; all of them—but the Chief Minister should have actually read his report as he exhorted us to do. We have read his reports. We know that, when the child protection scandal was reviewed, he had not read any of the reports. I want to quote from page ix of the Shaping our territory document. This is the preface signed by Sandy Hollway, the chair. It says:

This document reflects a consensus on key ideas, rather than agreement on every detail or every point of wording.

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