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Thursday, 25 June 1998
Page: 5493

Mrs DRAPER (10:33 AM) —Today I rise to speak about two environmental issues which affect my electorate of Makin in my home state of South Australia. One event which took place, which coincided with World Environment Day and which it was a great honour for me to participate in, was the Ardtornish Primary School's national launch of the `Your House' built-environment education kit. Fostering a sense of community, particularly in our young people, is very dear to my heart. I know that encouraging communities to work together is something which the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) has spoken about in a number of contexts, and I work very hard towards it in my electorate of Makin.

I see the built-environment education kit as a very important link in this process. Architecture is obviously a profession which is all about improving the environment in which people live and work together. It was also appropriate that that launch took place on World Environment Day. So much of our focus tends, quite rightly, to be on the natural environment; however, our built environment is equally deserving of attention on a day such as World Environment Day.

It is equally deserving of our attention because well designed buildings can address such issues as energy conservation, better use of space, minimisation of noise and other pollution, and minimisation of the impact on the external natural environment. This is a welcome initiative by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and praise is due, in particular, to Christina Coleiro, Nicolette Di Lernia and Sue Coad for the tremendous amount of work that they put into what I think is a first rate document. I know that it took five years to put together and that Christina and Nicolette joked that they would never have started it had they had known how long it would take. It has been an extraordinary task, in a voluntary capacity, from commencement to completion, and I congratulate them for a tremendous effort.

It is very important that we pass on to our young people an appreciation and understanding of the form and function of the buildings in which we live and work. Recently, I visited a building display in which a building had been specifically designed to minimise the incidence of asthma. Everything from the layout of the building to the structure to the surfaces was designed with the purpose of minimising dust and exposure to asthma causing agents. It is this kind of thing that shows very clearly the positive impact that architecture can have on our lives.

As a result of many innovations, a number of things can happen. Firstly, an innovation can create greater community awareness of the possibilities of world's best practice in architecture for our communities. Secondly, we will be significantly enhancing our students' future quality of life, in particular, their ability to use knowledge and technology to enhance their lives and the lives of others. Thirdly, we will hopefully be nurturing our future architects and designers by ensuring that Australians in this field will continue to be among the best in the world.

There is another benefit that I hope will result from this initiative. We talk a lot about instilling pride in our young people, pride in their school, their community and their country. A sense of ownership is vital in encouraging personal responsibility and respect for our buildings and for the people who use them. I congratulate all of those involved in this project. It was with much pleasure that I was able to be part of such a special launch. I need to mention at this point that the principal, teachers and parents of the students at Ardtornish Primary School in my electorate of Makin need to be congratulated separately. The students, after sitting through three or four speeches, behaved excellently and the students, teachers and principal put in a tremendous effort to make the day a success.

I am also very pleased to announce a further initiative by the federal coalition government in response to concerns about the natural environmental problems we are experiencing, particularly with the Murray River and dryland salinity and how we are affected in South Australia. Such long-term problems require long-term solutions, and that is exactly what this government is delivering.

The Natural Heritage Trust, which is delivering $1.25 billion over five years, is a huge project designed to build and repair our environmental infrastructure. Two particular components of the Natural Heritage Trust are of enormous benefit to South Australia. We have committed $163 million for the Murray-Darling 2001 project and a massive $318 million for the national vegetation initiative. This has enabled funding for projects in South Australia such as the Salt to Success project, which was launched in the south-east of South Australia earlier this year and which is restoring salt affected lands through revegetation.

As for the Murray-Darling initiative, the government has allocated $38.4 million in this budget as part of the trust. The significance of the Murray-Darling Basin to our economy, as well as to our ecology, cannot be underestimated. This initiative has included improving the health of the key river systems, encouraging economically and ecologically sustainable land and water management to reduce the salt and nutrients level in the river systems, and restoring associated land systems, wetlands and flood plains. (Time expired)