Page 5121 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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In 1993 Rosemary Follett as Chief Minister announced the Australian Capital Territory flag which featured the Southern Cross and a modified form of Canberra city’s coat of arms. The colours of blue, gold, and white on that flag were chosen for good reason because blue and white are the livery colours of the city, as shown by the wreath above the shield on the Canberra city coat of arms, while blue and gold are the traditional sporting colours of the ACT and were taken from the national blue and gold appearing on the wreath of the Australian coat of arms. The choice of colours maintains existing traditions, reflects a link with national history and preserves heraldic tradition.

In 1982 Prime Minister Fraser announced the royal bluebell as the floral emblem of the ACT. And as far back as 1928 Prime Minister Stanley Bruce announced the coat of arms for the City of Canberra. That was created at the request of the department of defence for use on the City of Canberra’s newly commissioned ship, HMAS Canberra.

This is a long range of traditions, many of which are intertwined and build on that history of symbols. The southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby is the latest of those. I suggest in passing that somewhere down the track we might look at an amphibian emblem, and the southern corroboree frog would be an excellent choice. It is found only in a 400-square-meter patch of the ACT and southern New South Wales, and many other states and territories have an amphibian emblem. But I suspect that is some way down the track.

When I am out and about in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park doing some bushwalking and trekking it has not been possible to see wild populations of the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby, but I am hopeful that with the success of the captive breeding programs being undertaken we will see southern brush-tailed rock-wallabies in the wild in the future and that my children and grandchildren and their children will be able to see them in the wild as they used to be.

The hard work of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service might bring that dream to reality. It would be a great experience to see those wallabies clambering up the rocky slopes around the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and peering down at us as we pass by. You can see other types of kangaroos and wallabies but unfortunately not the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby at the moment

It is an important symbol for the ACT, and I am pleased common sense has prevailed and we do not have two mammal emblems. Whilst the bettong also would have been a wonderful choice, the rock wallaby got the most number of votes, although only by a whisker. We are very pleased to support Mr Barr’s motion and we look forward to seeing the implementation of the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby as the mammal emblem of the ACT.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.03): The Greens also are very pleased that the southern brush-tailed rock-wallaby has been chosen as the mammal emblem for the ACT. It is significant that we have an endangered animal for our emblem, and I hope this means that it has a higher long-term chance of survival. That would be really exciting if that is what happens.

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