Page 2797 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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The government’s kangaroo research work will also continue throughout 2015-16. While still in its early stages, the results so far have been very positive in relation to developing non-lethal means by which to control kangaroo populations in our precious nature reserves. Maintaining the balance of our biodiversity is essential to making sure of the preservation of our diverse environment, and the government remains committed to these programs in this year’s budget.In this financial year we will continue to implement the new Nature Conservation Act. This act will enhance the role of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna in the monitoring and management of nature conservation, increase the alignment between ACT and commonwealth environmental protection law, facilitate a more flexible approach to management of species and ecosystems, and facilitate the introduction of resource protection areas which will assist the ACT in rehabilitating and protecting sensitive breeding areas.

This budget also includes funding to implement the recently commenced bilateral agreement with the commonwealth. This groundbreaking work will enhance the way we manage environment approvals and the accompanying environmental offsets. These environmental offsets help manage impacts on threatened species and threatened species habitat. They provide for environmental compensation for development impacts on sites that contain matters of national environmental significance such as threatened species or communities like yellow box, red gum woodland. The new one-stop shop will maintain high environmental standards while promoting a stronger economy by simplifying the approval process and will be supported through funding in this year’s budget.

In July I launched options for improving long-term water quality in the ACT and Murrumbidgee River catchment for public comment. The public consultation includes open-house-style consultations throughout each catchment, which is allowing the community to better understand factors affecting water quality in their local catchments. The options being discussed include systems to promote sedimentation, including wetlands and swales, and more mechanical infrastructure, such as gross pollutant traps and collection of water for irrigation purposes.

As members would be aware, the commonwealth government is providing up to $85 million to improve water quality in the ACT. Given the significance that our lakes and waterways play in this the largest of Australia’s cities inland and making our city a remarkable place to live, we must maintain our commitment to enhance water quality.

The work undertaken to improve our water quality will be complemented by the newly introduced catchment management coordination group. This group will allow agencies, commonwealth sectors and interest groups to assist in the ongoing preservation and improvement of water quality in the ACT.

This government has been very focused on programs that help empower the community in nature conservation tasks. As part of this, the government will fund on-ground programs such as Waterwatch. The program highlights the value that the community puts on environmental management. Waterwatch has been able to

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