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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 120

Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 4 August 2004:

With reference to the application by the Department of Finance and Administration to clear a heritage-listed English oak plantation in York Park, Canberra, for the purposes of building a multi-storey car park and new public service offices:

(1) Does the inclusion of York Park on the Commonwealth Register of the National Estate establish a presumption that it should be protected.

(2) Is transplantation of the oak trees part of the proposal by the department; if so, has there been any investigation of whether transplantation of oaks of this size is feasible.

(3) Given the report in the Canberra Times of 16 June 2004 that `moves to list Canberra as a World Heritage city could be abandoned if a heritage-listed English oak plantation is cleared': (a) has the Government investigated whether World Heritage listing of Canberra could be affected by destruction of the plantation; and (b) has the Government assessed the benefit to the tourism industry of Canberra if it were declared a World Heritage city.

(4) Have alternative proposals for the department's offices and car parking been investigated.

Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) The Department of Finance and Administration is exploring alternatives which would mean that the trees do not have to be transplanted.

(3) (a) No.

(b) No.

(4) Yes.