Page 1698 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 3 May 2005

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reference to the University of Canberra Act and its amendments from this particular bill. As I said, we will proceed with those separately.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Pest Plants and Animals Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 17 March, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.53): The Greens support this legislation with some changes. We have been advocates for many years of the need for a strong legislative framework to control pest plants and animals. Back in 1996 my predecessor Lucy Horodny commented on the ACT weeds strategy:

We note that the strategy does not propose taking a strong legislative approach to weed control. Much of the discussion of legislative options for dealing with weed control that was contained in the draft weeds strategy has been dropped from the final version. We agree that cooperation from the public needs to be gained for implementing many parts of the strategy, but there also needs to be strong legislation backup in case that public cooperation is not obtained.

Subsequently, also in 1996, some provisions relating to pest plants and animals were incorporated into the land act. These provisions, while an improvement, did not go far enough. So we are very pleased that we now have a stronger legislative framework before us. We believe that this legislation is a great improvement on the provisions that were in the land act. There are a few provisions in the proposed legislation that we think could be tighter and, if incorporated, would make the legislation more effective in meeting its objectives. Therefore, in the detail stage I will be moving some amendments.

The importance of this legislation is highlighted by the findings of a recent CSIRO report, commissioned by the World Wide Fund Australia. The report found that 40 per cent of the most damaging weeds to farmers have escaped from Australian gardens. According to the WWF: “Garden plants make up 94 per cent of the 27,000 introduced plant species in Australia, and are by far the biggest source of weeds totalling 70 per cent of Australia’s combined agricultural, noxious and natural ecosystem weeds. They contribute to the $4 billion annual cost of weeds to agriculture.”

Other findings of the report show that nurseries are still selling 33 per cent of the emerging weeds for grazing industries; 20 per cent of the weeds impacting on rare and threatened native plant species; 25 per cent of the weeds of national significance; and 25 per cent of the invasive plants on the world’s worst invasive alien species list. The report also states that “states and territories generally have low rates of prohibiting for sale those invasive and potentially invasive garden plants naturalised in their respective jurisdiction”, with the ACT cited as the weakest, with no formal legal measures. The report, however, does also mention the success of the ACT voluntary scheme in

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