Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2174 ..

The committee heard from a number of community groups. One group that was very interesting was the RSPCA. They made it quite clear a lot of work needs to be done to improve animal welfare. I draw to the eyes of members recommendation 16 about potential changes given some of the cases that have appeared and the costs the RSPCA is incurring in delivering services.

We heard from the Conservation Council. Recommendation 9 is that the government establish a single nature conservation agency in line with previous announcements and as recommended by the select committee last year. It is important that we look after our natural environment as best we can. It would appear all of us in this place agree that we should have a central nature conservation agency; it just does not appear to happen. That is confusing to many people. There appears to be a drop of about $700,000 in weeds management, and the committee recommends that the government restore the funding for weeds management to previous levels. It is important. As Geoff Butler said when he appeared, if we stop this effort the seeds that get into the ground can be there for a long time. It really is a question of prevention rather than cure.

One of the themes that emerged throughout the hearings––I commend Dr Bourke for pursuing this––is the issue of employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Dr Bourke asked the question of just about every portfolio as to what is happening, and it is clear an amount of work is still to be done to ensure that Indigenous people are included in the workforce, as is appropriate. A couple of other issues were raised by the elected body, particularly a chamber of business for Indigenous business people so they get the support they need to get started, to keep going and to survive. And the provision of child care and child services in the Indigenous community is something I would bring specifically to the attention of the minister.

Unfortunately Ms Fitzharris is ill today and will not be able to speak, so I believe it is the intention to adjourn this debate when I finish speaking. I again simply say thank you to my fellow committee members—Ms Fitzharris, Dr Bourke and Ms Lawder—for their efforts and the way they took to it. There are 148 recommendations. There could have been more; there could have been less. People had a genuine view that we were there to help improve the budget outcomes, and there are 148 suggestions to the government on ways they can improve things.

I thank the secretariat and the clerks that assisted and wrote the report: Mr Hamish Finlay, Dr Brian Lloyd, Mr Andrew Snedden and assistant clerk Sarah Redden. To the administration, Lydia and Jenny, thank you very much for your efforts. I particularly want to bring to the attention of the Assembly the efforts of Mrs Nicola Kossek, who was the secretary for the committee. Nicola did a great job. When we start it is all a bit vague as you try and divvy up the time and get the ministers’ diaries to agree with the agenda of the committee or vice versa. For your coordination throughout the whole process of the two weeks of hearing and the writing of the report, Nicola, on behalf of all the committee I thank you very much for your efforts.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video