Page 4023 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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(3) The expected completion of Version Two of the SBMP will be in 2006/07

Red Hill—heritage walk
(Question No 585)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 20 September 2005:

(1) Why have the works on the Heritage Walk on Red Hill Drive (Red Hill ‘look out’) appear to have stopped half way through and can the Minister advise when this Heritage Walk will be fully completed;

(2) Is the Government proposing to launch this walk to the general public; if so, when and what type of launch is being proposed;

(3) Why have some dead trees been removed in the Red Hill ‘look out’ area yet others still remain and will the Minister ensure that these trees are felled as a matter of public safety but that they be allowed to remain at the site for the preservation of the habitat of wild life in the area;

(4) When will works to the Reservoir on Red Hill Drive begin to prevent water seepage that in turn causes gravel and soil to wash down the road every time there is excessive rainfall;

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) My Department is unaware of any work being undertaken on Red Hill Drive that fits the description of a “Heritage Walk”. The only track work that has been completed on Red Hill Nature Reserve in the last 18 months relates to ongoing minor maintenance of unsealed, earth walking tracks. The Department of Urban Services and the Red Hill Regenerators Park Care Group likewise are unable to clarify the existence of work on a Heritage Walk as described by Mrs Burke.

(2) See response to question (1).

(3) Some removal of dead and dying shrubs was undertaken around the lookout area of the Red Hill summit last year. These works were undertaken to improve visual amenity and improve line of sight along the margins of the sealed roads (some of the vegetation was beginning to encroach onto the roads).

As part of its responsibilities under the ACT’s Strategic Bushfire Management Plan, Environment ACT has undertaken targeted vegetation removal, particularly in areas of the Bushfire Abatement Zone (BAZ). Such work has included the removal of shrubs, saplings and some trees. Unless associated with such works, or in the interests of public safety, the removal of dead trees from nature reserves is not a common practice. Dead standing vegetation is a critical component of the woodland environment as it provides habitat, food and shelter for a host of other organisms. The Red Hill woodland is predominantly a Yellow Box – Blakely’s Red Gum association, recognised in the ACT as endangered. The removal of dead and dying timber is considered to be one of the reasons this community is in decline throughout its range.

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