Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 September 2005) . . Page.. 3394 ..
definition of exceptional and it is not defined in the legislation, whereas the community already understands “significant”. It is used in the act this bill is replacing. In fact, without a proper definition, exceptional is quite a problematic word because exceptional means different. It implies better; it indicates unusual. So there is a lack of clarity about the criteria by which exceptionality will be determined. I do not believe that there have been any problems with the use of the word significant in the existing tree protection legislation. I believe that the community understands the word significant. I do not see any reason why the word exceptional has been chosen for this legislation.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, and Acting Minister for Education and Training) (5.09): The government will not support this amendment. The amendment would affect the objects of the act, which describe the intent of the legislation. We take the point that Dr Foskey makes that the change, on its face, is insignificant to the operation of the act. It would, on one interpretation, actually lessen or lower the degree of status of registered trees.
We can have debate around whether exceptional is superior to significant or significant superior to exceptional, but I think it is open to the government to argue that the proposed amendment would, in fact, lessen the degree of status of registered trees. Essentially, it is a semantic argument about the use of significant rather than exceptional. We do not believe the amendment would necessarily enhance the legislation. The government sees no reason to support the amendment.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.10): The opposition will be opposing this amendment, principally for the same reasons that the Chief Minister has enumerated. There are problems with the objects of the bill, but that is because there are problems with the bill and no amount of tinkering will improve them.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 6, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.11): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 3417].
This is one of a suite of amendments that seek to turn notifiable instruments into disallowable instruments. In the previous incarnations of this legislation, all these matters were disallowable instruments. They have all been changed holus-bolus to notifiable instruments, which removes scrutiny of the Legislative Assembly from a range of important matters.
This important matter is the capacity of the minister to declare areas of built-up urban area tree protection areas and to define what is urban area for the purposes of the act. This is an important measure, perhaps not the most important thing in this legislation, but it requires some scrutiny. It has an impact on people’s lives. It is reasonable that the