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Co-opening of Berserker Wilderness Community Mt Archer information shelter, Mt Archer, Rockhampton.

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Last updated: 1 March 2004

Co-Opening of Berserker Wilderness Community Mt Archer Information Shelter

Mt Archer, Rockhampton- 20 February 2004

Thanks very much, Neil, and ladies and gentlemen. My part in today's ceremony, and certainly my involvement in the fabulous things that have been done here, is very, very small.

It is a community project and, I guess, the most important thing for me to do is to acknowledge those community members who have been involved, and all of the other agencies that have worked together to achieve what has been achieved here.

And can I start by paying great tribute to Alby Wooller? I am not a resident here, as you know. I come in and out every now and again, but everywhere I seem to go where there is something good happening in the community at community level you will find Alby there.

Whether it is at a school, or whether it is up here, or whether it is on the river, Alby is one of those people who has a real genuine commitment to the area, and so, Alby, while we are not naming this after you today, all congratulations to you on what you have done here and what you have done everywhere else in your city of Rockhampton and surrounds - congratulations.

There are a lot of other people who I know have done great work - Neil Fisher and his group, the Berserker Wilderness Land Management Advisory Committee and the people you mentioned, Neil. I know some of them, but I do know the sort of work those people do, and it is really great that that happens.

The two Councils are always very supportive, and I am delighted to see Jim Rundle here representing the Rockhampton City Council and Brian Dorey - here he is, how can I miss you Brian? He must be being very silent today; that is why haven't noticed him. But, certainly, both those gentlemen, individually, have been great supporters, and I do thank them for the work their Councils have contributed as well.

And the State Government agencies, particularly the Natural Resources Management area, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, have been instrumental in getting this together and I congratulate Keith for that. And, also, I guess, by extension, Paul Houlihan who is representing the State Government here, and it is good to see you Paul and to congratulate you publicly on your recent election.

The work being done here has involved, not only the Information Centre, but, I understand, a Fire Management Plan. Of course, you can't have a Fire Management Plan, a Community Fire Management Plan without the community, or without the professionals who really know what they are doing in those areas. Can I recognise Neil Gallant and Colin May particularly representing the Urban and Rural Fire Services for the work they have done here?

I was saying to them earlier on, it is very often that you fly into the town and you can see little fires around. Fortunately, in recent times, not huge fires, but I think it is a great credit to the work those people do in managing the fire risks in this area, and so I congratulate them and thank them for what they have done for this National Park.

And to all of the other people who have been involved, you do deserve credit for this. I was interested in Neil's comments about Rex Pilbeam. As a Young Liberal, I can remember Rex, and you are quite right Neil, governments of all persuasions, at all levels, didn't like Rex because he was one of those that would thump his fist and make a nuisance of himself until he got what he wanted. He was obviously very, very successful, and it is good that he has been recognised here today.

Why I am here, of course, apart from being a supporter, is that the Federal Government has had an involvement indirectly, by providing some money, and money is always very important. I am delighted that the Federal Government, through the Natural Heritage Trust, has been able to provide some $45,000 (1 of 2) [5/03/2004 9:46:57 AM]

towards this project. I well accept that these things don't happen without community involvement, and without the involvement of the agencies in the local community.

But always a bit of cash helps to do some of these things, and I am very pleased and proud that the Federal Government has been able to pay for something. As Neil said, I know he will be back asking us for money and, Paul, you will quickly learn in your new role, that the State Government talks about things and takes all of the credit, but in most instances the money comes from the Federal Government. I am sure things won't change and I am sure you will become part of that!

But, we are as I say, delighted to be able to put in this $45,500. It is part of a lot of money that the Federal Government has contributed to the natural resources of the Australia, to our natural heritage over many years. Our Natural Heritage Trust is a great initiative of the Howard Government, and we are very, very proud of it.

It is a program that now is getting up to about a four billion dollar investment into our natural heritage in Australia and $21 million of those funds have come to central Queensland and, in recent times, another little program that I am directly involved with, the Australian Government Envirofund - already, Rockhampton has been in there applying for and receiving grants. They can smell money when it is around and there has already been $500,000 plus come to this area from the Envirofund in the past 18 months it has been going.

I am sure you will be back to that fund and, as I say, as I have a direct influence in that particular fund, and I am always pleased to keep half an eye out for your applications. While, of course, those grant decisions are made by independent panels, and are not subject to Ministerial influence, I like to keep an eye on what is happening and to make sure that all parts of Australia, including Rockhampton and central Queensland, get their fair share.

So, ladies and gentlemen, that is about it for my involvement in today. Again, congratulations to all of those involved, particularly Alby and Neil, and the Land Management Advisory Committee. It will be a delight for me to jointly officially open this shelter shortly with Alby. Well done and thank you all.

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