Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5448 ..
committee, and I do think that the eastern bettong is an ideal candidate. Its struggle for survival, its tiny size and its cute looks all make it a perfect choice for our mammal emblem, one that could go up against the hairy-nosed wombat, the possum, the red kangaroo or the Tasmanian devil in the cuddly stakes and win the publicity stakes with ease.
The Canberra Liberals support the Chief Minister’s motion and we look forward to the committee coming back to the Assembly in the new year with a clear recommendation. For what it is worth, the committee can take on the record that they at least have my and the Chief Minister’s vote for the bettong.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.35): I am delighted to have the opportunity to spend time talking about the mammals of the ACT today. I did bring down my mammal books, but in the interests of time I am not intending to quote too extensively from them. The Greens support this referral. We note that there has been a surprising level of community interest in this, and I think that is a good thing.
With the royal bluebell and the gang-gang already existing as emblems of the ACT, it does seem quite appropriate to add a mammal. I was reflecting on the gang-gang emblem and how popular that is in Canberra, and the fact that, some years ago, when there was a proposal to reduce the number of government emblems, coats of arms and the like, there was some suggestion that the gang-gang emblem be no longer used by the ACT parks and conservation service. We almost had a full-blown strike on our hands at the suggestion that that logo be removed. I was pleased that it did not come to that point because it is a well-loved logo of Canberra.
With respect to mammals, we have debated this in the office this week. We note that mammals include marsupials, monotremes and placental mammals, which are the bats and rats. We do wonder about other species that are not mammals but are representative of the ACT. We offer the committee the advice that they may consider whether these animals need to be represented as well, particularly the earless dragons and the corroboree frogs, which are particularly emblematic of the ACT and are very visually attractive. We believe that it would be useful for the committee to reflect on the Indigenous heritage of the ACT and how that might be relevant to the mammal emblem.
When it comes to choosing a specific mammal, the key question is: what do those mammals represent? Ms Lee has spoken about the bettongs. The bettongs are an excellent story about bringing back what has been lost in this territory. Bettongs, of course, have been extinct on the mainland for some considerable period of time. My books suggest that the early 20th century was when they were last seen on the mainland, surviving only in Tasmania, and now reintroduced to the ACT at considerable effort but very successfully. Ms Lee spoke about the increase in population numbers, which has been exciting.
We have the brush-tailed rock wallaby. This could be a very suitable choice as well, representing the fact that it has been driven to the brink of extinction, but, with only a few species left, an excellent rebreeding program has been put in place and we are seeing a slow improvement in that species. The brush-tailed rock wallaby was heavily