Page 140 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 26 February 2014

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Environment—proposed nature conservation agency

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.48): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the current structure of the ACT Government, where conservation functions are divided between the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate and the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate;

(b) the importance of our local environment to the wellbeing of the people of the ACT;

(c) that the Assembly voted on 20 March 2013 for the Government to establish a single nature conservation agency; and

(d) the support for a single nature conservation agency from environmental organisations in the ACT; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to establish a nature conservation agency, located within the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, which will be responsible for all conservation services in the ACT by the financial year beginning on 1 July 2014.

A single nature conservation agency is about creating an administrative structure that can deliver improved nature conservation outcomes through integration of all parts of biodiversity policy and research. It is about providing the best structure to protect and manage our environment. We want the best resourced service delivery. We want coordination of policy and legal requirements. We want a department that is on the same page when it comes to monitoring and recording. Overall, we want better environmental outcomes. These appear to me to be things that all of us in this place want irrespective of what side of politics we are on. So it makes me wonder why action has not yet taken place. On March 20 last year a motion was passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly which stated:

That this Assembly notes:

(a) the ACT Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement commits the ACT Government to establishing a single conservation agency to achieve better integration of biodiversity policy planning, research and management; and

(b) implementation of the proposal is currently under consideration by government.

Madam Speaker, 482 days have passed since that parliamentary agreement was signed, and almost a year has passed since the motion was agreed to in the Assembly which confirmed this proposal was under consideration by the government. Yet there has still been no action. Why has is it taking so long?

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