Page 3459 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

were arboriculturalists consulted during the drafting of the Tree Protection Bill 2005 or have they been consulted since its introduction?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for the question, which does allow me to correct the record, a record that has been significantly distorted today. I did not hear the interview, but I understand that a person, an arborist, did claim on the ABC this morning that he was not aware of the legislation. I find that passing strange. I have been advised today, in relation to the specifics of the question and the individual that you ask about, that the firm for which he works was directly contacted and was provided with a discussion paper, an exposure draft of the government’s plans. Whether or not that particular person’s employer chose to share the detail of the government’s proposed new tree legislation with Mr Smith, the employee of that firm, of course is a matter for that particular firm.

My advice, as of today, is that the very firm for which the ABC’s guest this morning worked was directly contacted and directly and deliberately provided with the information by Environment ACT, as, of course, were a whole raft of organisations across the ACT. The discussion paper and all of the fine detail of the new tree legislation were developed in close consultation with a range of experts across the board, and I have a consultation list as long as your arm.

The tree legislation has been in the making for years. The discussion paper and the details of the legislation have been on the net for months. The consultation period, of itself, was months long. This legislation has been consulted to death. The employer of the person who was the guest of the ABC this morning was directly contacted and invited to make comment on the proposal. I understand that employer chose not to.

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question. Minister, could you provide by the adjournment today a complete list of all groups and individuals who have been consulted or who have commented to your government on the bill, and when they did so?

MR STANHOPE: I will provide what information I have available. Suffice it to say that consultation on this particular matter was extensive and exhaustive. Environment ACT deserves to be congratulated for the lengths to which it went to engage the people of Canberra on this piece of legislation.

It is a piece of legislation that grew out of the flawed and draconian legislation that the Liberal Party introduced in their last term in government. It was interesting yesterday during the debate to see the extent to which the Mulcahy faction trashed the legislation. They spoke about it in the most belittling terms, knowing full well, of course, that it was their leader who introduced the legislation that the bill we are now debating builds on.

We are taking out of it those draconian aspects, those aspects of Mr Smyth’s interim tree bill that really horrified the people of Canberra and would have made it very difficult for them to manage their own houses and the amenity of their own blocks. It is Brendan Smyth legislation that we are reforming. We are ameliorating the worst aspects of the existing system, an interim scheme that simply covers the board.

Opposition members interjecting—

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .