Page 1430 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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Specific recommendations were made in relation to planning a new reserve at Majura Valley; expanding the Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain reserves; ensuring that all of the 20 most important grassland sites are under conservation management; developing an offset policy to compensate for any loss of lowland native grassland; maintaining and enhancing grassland connectivity; and giving consideration to conducting experimental ecological burns.

Two recommendations were highlighted for immediate action by the commissioner. Firstly, kangaroo culling, stock removal, appropriate mowing regimes and weed and/or rabbit control urgently need to be undertaken at 23 particular sites. In making this recommendation, the commissioner emphasised that addressing the overpopulation of kangaroos at seven of these sites is needed as a very high priority. The other urgent recommendation relates to the enforcement of the conditions of the land management agreement on a particular rural lease. This recommendation will be addressed through negotiations between the government and the rural leaseholder in question.

As I indicated last week, the response to the recommendations relating to kangaroo management will be informed by the draft kangaroo management plan which was released recently by the Chief Minister and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services for public comment. However, given the significance of the impact of the overgrazing on our ecosystems and endangered species, the government is prepared to indicate in-principle support for that recommendation.

In relation to weeds and rabbits, the government is in the process of finalising its weed strategy and has undertaken to commence a review of the vertebrate pest management strategy. These reviews will also inform the response to the report.

The recommendations as a whole will have an impact across a range of ACT government agencies, and likewise across a range of commonwealth agencies. A full response will require detailed consideration and cooperation across jurisdictions. There will also be an impact on rural lessees in the ACT.

I look forward to working with the commonwealth in particular to improve our management of these vitally important ecosystems. In that regard, I was heartened by the most positive response last week from the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, Dr Kelly, and I hope that bodes well for our engagement across the commonwealth.

Finally, I would like to commend Dr Cooper, the commissioner, and her panel of experts on what is a very thorough and detailed report. I thank her for her effort and enthusiasm in this very important task. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Rattenbury) adjourned to the next sitting.

Climate Change, Environment and Water—Standing Committee

Statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment,

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