Page 779 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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The then ACT shadow planning minister, Vicki Dunne, said that what was needed now was a change in planning culture and as much continuity following the recent report as possible. Mrs Dunne said that Shaping our territory was much better targeted than the government’s spatial plan released on the Monday. She said, “Whether you agree with the recommendations or not of the Shaping our territory report, this report sets a clear picture of where Canberra should be heading in terms of rebuilding following the January bushfires.”

Mrs Dunne then went on to say that she was disappointed—this is in November 2003 in relation to recommendations to re-establish pine forests—that yet more time would be lost as the “Chief Minister has stated it will take him a couple of weeks to establish an implementation body”. In November 2003 Mrs Dunne castigated me for taking two weeks to establish an implementation group to get on with the job of restoring pine trees to the Cotter catchment. That is what the Liberal Party thought in November 2003. How our opinions change when we sniff an opportunity for a bit of political point scoring! What do we see fifteen months later?

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Members of the opposition will cease interjecting.

MR STANHOPE: At the time there was an interesting letter to the Canberra Times on the same issues. It stated:

The $52 million insurance payment for the loss of ACT forests in the 2003 fires is welcome news.

It is now really important that all this money should all be put back into restoring the burnt plantation landscape, replanting trees and re-establishing a sustainable future for the local forestry and timber industry.

The cleanup and replanting programs must be done concurrently and as a matter of urgency to minimise erosion and weed infestation and protect dam water quality.

It could be disastrous if these environmental issues continue to be left for future years.

Signed Kate Carnell. There we have it. There are the views of the Liberal Party in November 2003 and January 2004: get on with it; don’t delay; two weeks is too long to delay.

Mrs Dunne needs to look at some of her other pronouncements on this issue. She is even on record as criticising me for devoting too much attention to the Cotter catchment. In a media release of 13 October 2004 she discusses issues to do with the Googong catchment. She goes on once again to lambast me: “Yet all his focus”—the Minister for the Environment—“has been on the Cotter catchment management”. In 2004 I was told to “stop putting so much attention on the Cotter and put a bit more on Googong” and was told, “Stop paying so much attention to the Cotter, minister, and actually focus on some other aspects of your responsibilities.”

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