Page 2651 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 25 September 2007

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department of main roads and with responsibility for bridge operations, was quite intimately involved with quite a number of the old Allan truss bridges which have been built across the region. He expressed a view this morning, on 2CC radio that in his opinion the old bridge could be restored and rebuilt for $2 million less than what this government has quoted for the new concrete bridge and in much faster time than it would take to erect the concrete bridge. He said that it could be restored to full operational capability. I am not an engineer, and that is advice that must be explored. Is he right? The government should come clean on their advice on this bridge.

Environment and heritage grants

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4.39): Today I would like to talk about two separate events I have recently attended. Just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of representing the ACT government in announcing the successful applications for the 2007-08 ACT environment grants. The presentations were held at Garran primary school, and before I go on I would like to thank the principal, Ms Tanya Nelipa, and her staff for their hospitality on the day. The ACT environment grants are funded annually by the ACT government and are designed to assist the community to participate in worthwhile environmental projects. This year, there were 19 applications, with the ACT government being able to support 12 of them, to a total of $129,000.

I will give a couple of examples. An amount of $15,375 went to the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra for “ACT otherWISE: Youth Leadership for Sustainable Consumption”, to train and build the capacity of young people to facilitate workshops on sustainable consumption, environmental issues and individual lifestyle changes. An amount of $17,280 went to the Concerned Residents of West Kambah for “Learning About Our Neighbourhood”, to run six cafe based discussion functions for local community members to address environmental concerns and establish a sustainability and well-being precinct. An amount of $6,000 went to the ACT Division of the Geological Society of Australia for the production of the Guidebook to the Geology and Landforms of the Canberra Region and Namadgi National Park—a geological guide for that region for use by the community and secondary schools.

On that day, there was evidence of the success of last year’s grants program with the Garran primary school P&C association’s sustainable gardens project on glorious display as we entered the school. I do not think I need to inform the Assembly about the importance of combating climate change. These grants are important stepping stones in educating future generations so that we can create a sustainable environment for everyone. I would like to reinforce what I said on the day—that the community’s role in preserving and enhancing our local environment is absolutely fundamental.

There are no shortcuts that can be taken when dealing with our environment. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that confront us as a global community. It is encouraging to see the ACT government working with and supporting community based awareness programs like those which have received the grants this year and over previous years. I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of these projects in coming years and to some new initiatives for next year.

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