Page 4872 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 11 November 2009

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say, “There is nothing personal in this; we are not suggesting that they are cutting down trees that should not be cut down or trees that are not dangerous, trees that are not dead.” That is precisely what you are doing.

These are experts who have made expert decisions and who are cutting down trees that they think are dangerous or that are dead or dying. Let us suspend it? I cannot have that. That is why, in my motion, I am now agreeing so that my officers can have some certainty and some confidence in what they do going forward and you can have the comfort that you need that there will be an external rigorous investigation of all of the processes, which will be subject to full community consultation.

In the interim, I simply need my officers to know that they have my support, the government’s support and certainly this Assembly’s support to cut down dangerous trees before they kill somebody. That is what I am looking for—a process that allows the government to govern and public servants to do their job. That is what I am looking for.

At the moment, we have an agency that has suspended one of its activities because it is just not quite sure what to do. Every time it cuts down a tree, it gets kicked to death. That is the reality within which I am operating. My officers have laid down tools and said, “Look, let us just stop doing this for a while.” I cannot have that. I need a clear way forward and some clear water forward. These amendments today—this process at least—gives us that so that we can re-establish, start again, get the community on side, get some bipartisanship into this issue and move forward. That is my position.

Mr Coe’s amendment to Mr Stanhope’s proposed amendment agreed to.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that Mr Stanhope’s amendment, as amended, be agreed to.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (4.55): I wanted to seek leave to move the motion I tried to move a few minutes ago, but now that it has been changed I probably cannot do this because the numbering will not work. I think I have been defeated by this one.

Mr Seselja: Did you want a few minutes, Ms Le Couteur? I could put together a speech for a couple of minutes if you like. I can speak on trees.

MS LE COUTEUR: Okay. Can I have a suspension for a minute to see if I can work out how to redo the amendment, given how it has been changed?

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.57): I will speak generally about the motion and about trees. I would just like to add a few words by way of filling in some time for the Assembly. This is a really important issue to a lot of people. The reason that we are getting so much feedback from the community is that people do value their trees. They value their street trees in particular. If tomorrow you were to remove all the trees in a particular street in the inner south or the inner north or in parts of Tuggeranong or Belconnen with established trees, the streets would look amazingly different and the amenity would significantly change.

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