Page 2119 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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surgery or with mental health issues. The location of the University of Canberra public hospital also will facilitate a knowledge sharing relationship with the University of Canberra through cutting edge research implementation and industry experience for students.

A range of measures will be put in place during development of the public hospital to avoid or mitigate impacts on matters of national environmental significance. However, due to unavoidable land residual impacts on a number of critically endangered flora, including box gum grassy woodland, the commonwealth government required an environmental offset as part of their approval. Variation 349 implements the conditions of the commonwealth approval and will add over 19 hectares to the existing Pinnacle Nature Reserve to offset the environmental impacts of the vitally important University of Canberra public hospital. To satisfy the conditions of the commonwealth approval and ensure the ongoing management and protection of the Pinnacle Nature Reserve we need to apply the nature reserve overlay over that site.

The Watson site, or Justice Robert Hope Park, will rezone block 7, section 72 Watson from PRZ1 urban open space to NEZ3 hills, ridges and buffer and will apply a nature reserve overlay over the site. The Watson site is also subject to a commonwealth approval where an environmental offset is required for medium density residential housing at block 6, section 64 Watson.

Justice Robert Hope Park is dominated by large mature trees that provide seasonal nectar and valuable foraging habitat for canopy birds and other tree dwelling fauna. The park is also part of a well-connected and diverse woodland open forest complex which extends across the north-eastern ACT and includes the critically endangered yellow box red gum grassy woodland area. The changes made in variation 349 will provide better protection for a number of key flora and fauna within Justice Robert Hope Park, including the regent honeyeater.

Variation 349 received four submissions during the public consultation period. All of the submissions were supportive of the variation but some raised concerns relating to the environmental values of the offset areas, the public availability of the offset management plan and the commonwealth and ACT government consultation processes on offset projects.

I will now briefly respond to the main concerns raised by the public. One submitter raised questions about the environmental values of the offset areas contained within variation 349. Variation 349 implements a condition of a commonwealth approval for environmental offsets in Belconnen and Watson. Therefore, the environmental merits of the offsets have already been deemed suitable by the commonwealth government in a robust approval process and do not require assessment by the ACT government.

Another issue raised during the consultation period related to the public availability of the offsets management plan for the Pinnacle Nature Reserve in Belconnen. The draft offsets management plan was submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Environment before 17 October 2015 in accordance with the conditions of the commonwealth approval. The offsets management plan was updated in consultation with community groups, including the Friends of the Pinnacles, in response to

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