Page 1861 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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Although the legislation is broader than just environmental issues and covers primary issues, a key part is about protecting the environment. As we know, the spread of pest plants and pest animals is not restricted by fences, be they wire netting, electric or barbed wire, between nature reserves and farmland.

We suggest this will enhance the likelihood that aspects of the legislation are enforced and successful. We suggest these changes so that pest plant and animal declarations may require notification of the presence of a pest plant or pest animal to the conservator, rather than to the chief executive—that is clause 7 (2) (a) and clause 15 (2) (a).

It is an offence if this person does not give the conservator, rather than the chief executive, written notice of the presence of a pest animal or pest plant—that is in clauses 9 (d) and clause 17 (d); that the conservator, rather than the chief executive, can issue a permit allowing the supply of a pest plant or a pest animal—clause 13 and clause 22; that the conservator, rather than the chief executive, can issue a pest management direction—clause 24; that the conservator, rather than the chief executive, must try to give notice of any actions in relation to contravention of a pest management direction—clause 27; that decisions by the conservator to issue a pest management direction are reviewable—clause 48 (e); and capacity for the conservator to delegate functions—clause 51 (a).

We believe these changes will ensure that environmental issues are at the forefront in the decision-making and operational aspects of this legislation, and that this will enhance the capacity for enforcement of the legislation.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.07): Dr Foskey makes a very important point—that some of this best rests with the conservator of flora and fauna rather than the chief executive—but I think some of her amendments go too far. For instance, those relating to clause 15 and clause 7, in particular, are administrative functions that I think would be better left with the chief executive rather than the conservator of flora and fauna. In other cases I think there is merit in what she suggests.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.10): I want to allay Mrs Dunne’s concerns and argue that it is appropriate to deal with these amendments together because, of course, the conservator has the power to delegate. I think that, where items were seen to be of more relevance to a chief executive, that would be the practical way to go about it. I am not sure that breaking the amendments up is necessarily a good way to go, because we are talking about legislation here.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (12.10): The government will be opposing each of these amendments. The government’s view is that the conservator’s role is focused almost exclusively on nature conservation. The administration of this pest management legislation is far broader than that. It is not just about nature conservation—it extends well beyond the usual remit of the conservator.

The administration of pest management is much broader than nature conservation. It includes primary industries such as cropping, grazing, horticulture and horse agistment. It is, in the government’s opinion, much more appropriate to refer to the chief executive.

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