Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2005) . . Page.. 2580 ..
DR FOSKEY: Good. Encore, encore! To recapitulate, the rehabilitation of the Cotter catchment—
Mr Quinlan: It was with irony, though.
DR FOSKEY: Who has the floor here? To recapitulate, the rehabilitation of the Cotter catchment is a significant job. It is no surprise that the Greens believe that planting pines there again will compromise the core objective of maintaining water quality and quantity. I was pleased to see the estimates committee report note the need for the progress and means of the rehabilitation to be reviewed by the end of 2005, including the scope for public and scientific input.
I ask the government to take heed of that, particularly the need to continually engage with the scientific community on this matter. I am also aware that a catchment working group is revisiting whether to plant pines in the catchment, but its recommendations to the minister are not yet public. I look forward to seeing those recommendations and I hope that the community’s concerns have been taken into consideration.
Another matter of significance is the restructure proposed for ACT Forests. It will now fall under the Chief Minister’s Department, more specifically Environment ACT. I understand that the nature of this restructure is yet to be determined. I will be watching the restructure with interest because I do think that it has the potential to be a positive move.
The restructure will allow the conservation principles of Environment ACT to have an impact on ACT Forests, perhaps pushing it from the old approach of forest harvesting to more positive land management practices. I suggest that the decision was made—though very quietly, without any fanfare—because the government has shifted its priorities for the management of that land to catchment over production forestry.
If such a move were to take place, ACT Forests would not have to pretend that it was a profit-making enterprise. It is well known, as Mrs Dunne has just reiterated, that the only time ACT Forests made a profit in its life was when forests burnt down and were not there any more. I must add that any income that it might make would pale when offset against the cost of planting, maintaining and harvesting as well as the cost of maintaining roads and fences and then, ultimately, replacing pines that are lost in what I suppose we have now come to expect as a 40 to 50-year cycle of major fires. Of course, that is not even taking into account the impact of the management of plantations on catchment values, which is not calculated as a cost in our budget. I will be happy to support this funding.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.16—Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, $92,399,000 (net cost of outputs), $12,401,000 (capital injection) and $26,117,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $130,917,000.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.34): No doubt my colleague Mrs Burke will have much more to say on this expenditure, but I have a few observations to make about the