Page 2367 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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The New South Wales government built fences within a month of the devastating fires. Here we are in 2005, two and a half years after the fires, and there are rural lessees who do not have their fences built. But Mr Stanhope can go on with his vanity project because it is much more important that we have a memorial and an opportunity for Jon Stanhope to tend his garden than for rural lessees to run their properties. Mr Stanhope is effectively running these people out of business. They cannot earn income because they cannot run cattle, and they cannot sell cattle because the cattle keep escaping into the parks. This is what we have here. This is what we have everywhere.

We have the Office of Sustainability. Mr Seselja and Mr Mulcahy made very salient comments about the woolly thinking about sustainability that goes on in the ACT government. It is one of those catchall words. We have the Chief Minster talking about sustainability legislation that will be iconic. It is always there. He wants to be remembered for something. He is a bit of a dunce, but he wants to be remembered for something. He wants to be remembered for his landmark legislation and his landmark tree farm, nothing about looking after the rights and the everyday needs of the people of the ACT.

It is the wish of this opposition, and I hope it would also be the wish of the crossbench, to see some of the money that has been currently allocated to this vanity project going to proper land management projects, which are crying out for need. The underresourcing of the weed strategy is a national disgrace. The management of weeds, especially after the bushfire, has been a national disgrace. Mr Stanhope said, “There’s no magic wand. We can’t solve this problem.” The magic wand is to get your staff out there spraying the weeds when they are coming up. That is the magic wand. But Mr Stanhope would rather spend money on a monument to himself, rather than the simple, everyday, practical things that government should be doing, such as spraying the weeds on the land that they manage, making sure the fences are secure on the land that they mange and doing something about erosion, which impacts highly on our water quality and the quality of the water of people who live downstream of us. But that is not important. He is only interested in what makes him feel good.

We have significant problems in the heritage unit, as Mr Seselja touched on. The heritage unit does not have the resources to do all the assessments it needs to under its new legislation. The heritage unit is in disarray, which has been manifested by the case that Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth brought to the estimates committee and which Mr Seselja touched on today. All of the general administration of environment is just nothing because Jon Stanhope is really only interested in water. We see in the recommendations today in response to the major report that the government does not think it is important that we should put some more money into the water strategy. It is enough. We really need to put our money into Mr Stanhope’s vanity project.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.50): I suspect that I will need to talk for a couple of periods on this line, although neither speech is likely to run for a full 10 minutes. I would like to reassure members that my speeches on most of the other lines of this budget are shorter. Given that, I will address issues of the environment on this first occasion and other budget initiatives and shortfalls next time around.

As I said in May, I think it is very clear that this is not a Green budget. I would like to raise a number of questions relating to the environment and environment-related

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