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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3279 ..

But unlike a typical parasite, mistletoe provides a benefit to its host. Mistletoe does not kill its host. Instead, the native plant encourages fauna to spread the host’s seed as well as the mistletoe’s seed. The sugary fruit can also distract pest species from attacking their host and potentially destroying forests of blue gum. Charles Sturt University has found that there would be one-third fewer birds around without it, evidence of how mistletoe assists its whole habitat.

This mutually beneficial relationship is one that I think mirrors our relationship with the environment. It is sometimes hard to see why we should care about the environment. We can hear the calls from climate scientists and environmentalists that we have to change what we are doing, but these warnings seem so far removed from our day-to-day lives. Quolls and bettongs are cute and we can all stop using take-away coffee cups, but it is hard to really get a good sense of the change we can make through our individual actions.

Our community will continue to grow, a reflection of the fact that Canberra is the best place to live, at least in my humble opinion. You cannot blame anyone for wanting to live here. However, being a Canberran comes with the responsibility not to place undue burden on our environment. We do not have to see taking care of our environment has a hassle; it does not have to be something we are encroaching on, nor does it need to be something we lock away indefinitely.

The work being done at Mulligans Flat and across the ACT is showing the rest of Australia that we can enrich and strengthen our environment while enjoying the amenity it offers us. The living experiment taking place at Mulligans Flat shows just what can be achieved when we work responsibly within and with our environment.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (5.28): I welcome the opportunity to speak to Ms Orr’s motion this afternoon. Ms Orr’s motion highlights the importance of ensuring that our native grassland areas, our open spaces and our native endangered species are protected and well managed, and calls on the government to continue its good work in nature conservation, to complete the design on a Mulligans Flat visitor centre and to develop an ecotourism policy to support greater access, understanding and appreciation of Canberra’s natural environment.

I note Ms Orr makes reference at paragraph (1)(c) to human activity which can and has in many instances impacted adversely on our natural environment. It is disappointing that Ms Orr chose not to also recognise the high awareness that Canberrans have for the city in which they live and the many Canberrans who impact positively on our environment. On any day you will see people walking on Red Hill or Mount Taylor or Mount Ainslie, anywhere in her own electorate or around the lake taking care to stay on the track and taking their rubbish with them. Countless volunteer groups spend weekends weeding the walking trails, planting out areas to encourage regrowth, supporting awareness of our local environment by taking groups through areas like Westbourne Woods or Namadgi Nature Reserve or being Friends of the Arboretum.

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