Page 3779 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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29, covering lowland woodlands, lowland native grasslands and aquatic and riparian communities. Each of these action plans covers a major vegetation type and its constituent threatened species and ecological communities and set out an integrated conservation plan with priority actions to guide government agencies and non-government interests towards achieving the strategy’s aims. These documents are fundamental to achieving sustainable outcomes in relation to both urban and conservation planning in the ACT and continually inform planning decisions.

The ACT government has recently formally declared the pink-tailed worm lizard and the little eagle as vulnerable species under the Nature Conservation Act 1980. These declarations were the result of nominations by community interest groups which were assessed by the Flora and Fauna Committee before recommendations for declaration were made to the ACT government. Declaration as a vulnerable species is formal recognition that the species requires statutory protection if it is to persist in the ACT’s environment on a sustainable basis. Action plans will be prepared detailing management actions by government to protect these species.

The ACT is investing significantly in aquatic systems. In particular, the recovery of threatened fish species is a priority. This year, Actew, in collaboration with the University of Canberra and Parks, Conservation and Lands, has launched a research program aimed at investigating and building artificial habitat for Macquarie perch in the proposed enlarged Cotter Dam. The objective of this project is to ensure the survival of this threatened fish species in the Cotter River, while at the same time securing the ACT’s future water supply needs.

The ACT now has over 54 per cent of its land area within a protected area network managed primarily for nature conservation. Over the past four years, the government has committed significant additional areas of the ACT to conservation purposes, using a combination of strategies ranging from nature reserve, water catchment protection and rural conservation leases with conservator’s directions. These include the grasslands in Jerrabomberra Valley, with 420 hectares announced in 2004; the inclusion of block 60, formerly a pine plantation, in Tidbinbilla nature reserve, with 486 hectares; and the inclusion of the former pine plantation estate in the lower Cotter catchment, with 6,000 hectares, in a new land use category of water supply catchment. That is identified in the new Planning and Development Act. These areas are firmly committed as conservation areas and in total area comprise 6,900 hectares.

This government has had a longstanding commitment to the review of the Nature Conservation Act 1980 to ensure that our legislative framework is again a national benchmark. The review of the Nature Conservation Act 1980 is underway and is giving effect to the government’s election commitment to review and strengthen the role of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna, a revised statutory advisory committee and a revised ACT nature conservation strategy.

Although I have only a few seconds left in which to speak, I would like to note that we have also achieved 22 of the actions in the first action plan in Weathering the Change and we will continue that implementation.

MR SPEAKER: I welcome members of the University of the Third Age and the Canberra Central Probus Club to the Assembly.

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