Page 3544 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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landscape architects across the ACT, the Institute of Spatial Surveyors, the Housing Industry Association and the Property Council.

In addition, there was specific and deliberate consultation with the Environmental Defender’s Office, the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra, the Commissioner for the Environment, the Heritage Council, every local area planning and advisory committee in the ACT, and the Tree Protection Working Group. There were a number of public meetings. Noted tree advisers such as Dr Robert Boden and Dr John Banks were specifically consulted in the preparation of a discussion paper and in the preparation of the legislation and, of course, the provisions that we are dealing with today.

In that context, the fact sheet on the Tree Protection Bill was mailed out to all of those significant stakeholders and, indeed, to a whole range of individuals who had expressed some interest in the issue and whom the government and Environment ACT were aware would have a very specific interest. In that regard, Environment ACT met, for instance, with the Australian Native Plants Society at their annual general meeting. It met, of course, with ACT government agencies such as ACTPLA and Canberra Parks and Places and with individuals, on request.

Through that process, as I said, a number of community meetings were held to engage the broad community and all those within the ACT who have an interest in, or expressed an interest in, this particular matter. In that regard, specific meetings, for instance, were also held with the Interim Namadgi Advisory Board, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council and individual representatives of the Aboriginal community, particularly those who had representative status for the indigenous community. This is the range of people and individual expert stakeholder groups that were consulted in the preparation of this legislation.

I might say, for instance, in relation to representative groups representing the community at large, not necessarily environmental groups, it was in that context that the discussion paper was provided. Comments and responses were sought from the Majura, west Belconnen, Manuka, Burley Griffin, Ginninderra and inner north local area planning advisory councils.

I should say, to conclude this explanation of consultation, because of comments that have been made in this place that are blatantly wrong and comments that were made most particularly on ABC radio yesterday that were blatantly wrong, that it is important to correct the record. Community views were, as I say, explicitly sought. A number of people in relation to the discussion paper responded positively and took the opportunity to make submissions to Environment ACT or the government on the proposals. Some of those, which I have not referred to before, did take that opportunity to specifically respond. I know Dr Foskey and Mrs Dunne had critical comments to make about an alleged lack of consultation, comments that are simply false.

I will go through some of the others that did respond specifically by way of submission. They included the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, the Environmental Defender’s Office, a whole range of individuals, Robert Boden and Associates, more individuals, the conservation council, Purdon Associates, the west Belconnen local area planning group, the ACT National Trust, the Aranda residents

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