Page 4896 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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Environment—nature reserves

Papers and statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): For the information of members, I present the following papers:

Commissioner for the Environment Act, pursuant to section 22—Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment—Report on Canberra Nature Park (nature reserves); Molonglo River Corridor (nature reserves) and Googong Foreshores Investigation—

Part 1. Report, dated July 2011, including CD of Summary and Recommendations, Report and Appendices.

Part 2. Appendices, dated July 2011.

Part 3. Submissions, dated July 2011.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the papers.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Today I am tabling the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s report on Canberra nature park, Molonglo River corridor and Googong foreshores. On 13 October 2009, I requested the former commissioner, Dr Cooper, to undertake an investigation into Canberra nature park, Molonglo River corridor and Googong foreshores under eight terms of reference. The terms of reference were comprehensive, including assessing reserve condition under the impact of grazing by stock, kangaroos, vertebrate pests and weeds; identifying actions to protect and enhance these areas, including boundary changes and the status of indigenous species and communities; reviewing existing land management programs and practices; identifying urgent actions and long-term changes needed; identifying knowledge gaps, research, survey needs and monitoring requirements, taking account of context and climate variability; ensuring effective communication and stakeholder involvement, including with Aboriginal people; identifying potential biodiversity offset management actions or sites; and identifying evidence justifying the need for managing grazing pressure in the context of sound reserve management practices.

Given that the territory’s lowland grasslands were recently investigated by the commissioner in a separate study, grassland reserves were beyond the scope of this investigation. This investigation is important given Canberra’s well-earned reputation as the bush capital and the important role of nature reserves in biodiversity conservation. Canberra’s bush heritage also provides outstanding recreational opportunities for those residents who live in close proximity to it and for visitors from other areas. The challenge of climate change is also placing extra demands on the planning, design and future management of our nature reserves.

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