Page 1590 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008

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MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.42): Just in case this is smoke and mirrors and we are being deceived by yet another cunning back flip, I wish to stand here right now and reinforce Mrs Dunne’s motion. Dr Foskey asked a very, very good question: what is the state of the motion at the moment? I guess the answer might be that it depends on what the latest ALP internal poll has said about back flips and how mean spirited the government is and whether or not the ACT director of the ALP has indeed rung up Mick and directed him to perhaps table this plan at long last.

The motion to authorise publication of the Namadgi national park revised draft plan of management referred to the planning and environment committee that my colleague Mrs Dunne has put forward here today is an important motion. Let us just make sure that we have not seen an apparition over there, a mirage, and that indeed the report has been tabled. To make sure that it will remain tabled and there will not be yet another back flip to scoop up that plan and take it back, I will stand here with Mrs Dunne to try and make sure that it remains tabled.

Why did Mrs Dunne have to bring this motion on? Mrs Dunne had to bring this motion on because, as usual, we have seen a failure of this government to be transparent. As Mrs Dunne quite rightly pointed out, why are members of the community who are invited to come forward to make submissions to the planning and environment committee unable to see the fruits of their labour? Why is the report not made public or the plan itself not made public? That is precisely why she has pushed this issue today. Mick, I just hope it remains tabled.

Why was the report unable to be published? Mrs Dunne has done the community a great service here today. She has shoved Mick Gentleman to the point where he has now tabled the plan. Of course, Mrs Dunne, as the shadow minister for environment, is questioned by the public about why these things take so long. Why do they? Why do reports, for example, into the status of Tharwa bridge remain secret for so long? Why is the gas-fired turbine power plant that is apparently to be foisted upon Macarthur—a $2 billion project—shoved beneath the radar? Why do these matters have to remain under wraps? That is what this government is—a government of managing matters under wraps.

Could I also point out, by the way, that I thought that Mr Gentleman just took cheap shots at Mrs Dunne and absolutely skated over two very serious issues: firstly, the failure of this government to be transparent; and, secondly, the very serious issues about how well Namadgi national park is managed. That brings me to the point of fire mitigation. What are the strategies for the mitigation of the fire threat in the Namadgi national park? We all love the park and do not want to see it unnecessarily destroyed through yet more incompetence by this government, as we saw in 2003. When Namadgi national park catches fire it threatens Canberra. Namadgi national park is on the major bushfire threat approach to the Canberra city and suburban spread.

I want to know—and I will now be looking to read this plan—the operational relationships between the ACT authorities and the New South Wales authorities regarding the western approaches through New South Wales to Namadgi national park. If this park is to be managed in the best way that it possibly can be, we want to

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