Page 1180 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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great day for Tidbinbilla. I think it is fantastic that we now have eight companions for Lucky; we now have a koala population of nine, and it is our very firm hope and intention to rebuild to the 25 or 30 that were there prior to the fire.

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, can you tell the Assembly how other restoration work is progressing at Tidbinbilla?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms MacDonald; I can. I am very pleased with the progress that has been made. I think the major breeding program that has been part and parcel of Tidbinbilla for many years, as members would know, was that of the brush-tailed rock wallaby. Indeed those that have been reintroduced and the few that survived the fire—the rock wallaby population was also devastated by the fire—are thriving. The population was reduced to five; there are now 15 and it is hoped that, within a year or so, we will have at least 25 brush-tailed rock wallabies at Tidbinbilla.

The ACT is, and has always been, an active participating member of the national and Victorian recovery teams for the brush-tailed rock wallaby and we work collaboratively with them. Through that arrangement and through the cooperation of the team or the group, we have taken wallabies that were bred at the Adelaide Zoo. They are two young, juvenile wallabies that are not yet ready to breed but will hopefully be doing so by the end of this year. We have received wallabies from Victoria and New Zealand under these cooperative arrangements, and they have now begun to breed. A cross-fostering project with Tamar wallaby foster mothers is now being activated and pursued. It is tremendous that two of the major attractions at Tidbinbilla, in the koalas and the brush-tailed rock wallabies, are now re-established, vital and, in the case of the wallabies, thriving and we hope the same for the koalas.

I will also inform members that the new nature discovery playground is well under way. Design work is about to be finalised. It is a fantastic playground; it will be perhaps one of the most exciting for children in the ACT and will be completed by spring of 2005. We are also expanding the breeding enclosure for the corroboree frogs, which is well under way. That is another very successful breeding program. In addition to that, much of the other infrastructure that was damaged is being re-established in walking tracks, roads and the removal of dead and burnt trees.

All in all, Tidbinbilla is coming along. There is a long way to go; hence the public are invited to visit Tidbinbilla. Visitor numbers are now approaching, if they have not surpassed, pre-fire visitation numbers, which is fantastic for Tidbinbilla. Over Easter, of course, Environment ACT hosts an Easter extravaganza and bushwalk at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on Easter Sunday, and all Canberrans are very welcome to attend that.

Hire cars

MS PORTER: Can the Minister for Urban Services advise the Assembly of the impending reforms to the hire car industry in Canberra?

MR HARGREAVES: Changes to the hire car industry to commence on 1 July 2005 will provide a much needed boost to the hire car industry, which has been ailing for some time. In fact, it has been in a state of uncertainty for well over four years. The method of

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