Page 4119 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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Environment—weed management

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (12.02): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) the ACT Government has made substantial cuts to weed management funding in the 2015-2016 Budget;

(b) the Auditor-General’s Report on Restoration of the Lower Cotter Catchment (Report No. 3/2015) highlights that priority needs to be given to important and ongoing work including controlling major weeds in the ACT;

(c) during the 2014-2015 Estimates hearings, representatives of the Conservation Council ACT Region gave evidence and highlighted the importance of weed management and that their biggest concern is that the cuts to the weeds budget do not appear to have any scientific evidence;

(d) in the Assembly on 11 August 2015 Mr Rattenbury highlighted the important role of weed management and how controlling weeds “will reduce soil disturbances and encourage natural regeneration, which serves as a very powerful driver of improved water quality”;

(e) the ACT Weeds Advisory Group, a technical reference group established to oversee implementation of the ACT Weeds Strategy, has not met recently; and

(f) there is a growing prevalence of weeds in urban, suburban and rural areas of the ACT, including African lovegrass, serrated tussock and Madagascan fireweed; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) reinstate the weed management funding cut in the 2015-2016 Budget;

(b) reinstate meetings of the ACT Weeds Advisory Group; and

(c) report back to the Assembly in February 2016 on progress of its weed management program.

A number of constituents and other stakeholders have raised their concerns with me about the government’s cuts to the weed management funding in the 2015-16 budget. This was discussed in some detail during the estimates hearings earlier this year. We need adequate funding to control weeds in the ACT. By this I mean not just the ongoing or base funding; we need special project-based funding for new instances of weeds which are incursions into the ACT.

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