Page 2821 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 5 August 2008

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rural leaseholds, or with farms in other parts of Australia. While we must make sure that we maintain the integrity of our national park, it is very important that we do not create an “us and them” situation. Certainly, most of these debates are still alive in other states where national parks have been around for a lot longer.

I would seriously suggest that the government should look at ways in which, through education and awareness, the rural leaseholders on the edge of the national park who feel that they have been negatively impacted by activities in the park can work together with the managers of the national park. In my experience, national parks management is almost always underfunded. That can cause some of the problems that neighbours complain about. It is really important, if we are going to create these wonderful places, which we will need more and more in the face of climate change, to make sure that we set aside the funds to manage them properly.

There were hiccups. I was also concerned that the report was not publicly available earlier. I attended the committee hearing at which Mr Gentleman seemed to decide that it would suddenly become publicly available. In a way, I suppose we should be glad to have a retarded response; it is better than none at all. I think that what happened does point to some of the problems regarding community engagement and involvement in management that this government has. I have not yet seen these problems properly addressed. Let us hope that this report makes a difference.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. I deliver this statement in my capacity as chair of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Environment in relation to the committee’s inquiry into water use and management.

On 7 June 2007, the Assembly resolved that the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment inquire into the best options for ACT government investment in maintaining a sustainable water supply in the ACT. The committee called for public submissions on 23 June 2007, closing on 31 October 2007, and received 15 submissions. A public hearing was held on 11 December 2007, at which the committee heard from representatives of the Molonglo Catchment Group Inc and Actew Corporation representatives. During its inquiry into annual and financial reports for 2006-07, the committee also focused largely on water use issues, demand reduction strategies and the implementation of the “think water, act water” strategy.

Since the inquiry on water use and management was referred, the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment has reported on the following matters:

• the proposed nomination of the ACT as a UNESCO biosphere reserve;

• ACTION buses and the sustainable transport plan;

• three draft variations to the territory plan:

No 276—ANU City West precinct, the ANU exchange;

No 287—Gold Creek Homestead;

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