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Thursday, 23 August 2001
Page: 30188

Mr LLOYD (9:55 AM) —It is good that the member for McMillan has been able to highlight some of the works that are being done by the state governments, which are funded by the GST. Of the works he has talked about, I think $5,000 million from GST revenue has been given to the Victorian government so far to use exactly as he said: on public health and public schools. So it is great that he is highlighting the good work that the federal government is doing in that area.

Today I would like to briefly highlight another area where the federal government is making great inroads: projects under the Natural Heritage Trust, something which the Labor opposition opposed. The Natural Heritage Trust, in 1996, had $1.5 billion, which has been extended in the 2001-02 budget by another $1 billion for a further five years. Some of the work that has been done in my electorate of Robertson under the Natural Heritage Trust is making a significant impact, particularly for the smaller groups—the bushcare and landcare groups.

One example is the Bulbararing Reserve Bushcare Group, associated with the Avoca Beach Community Association. The bushcare group was given $11,000 under the Natural Heritage Trust and used that money to help restore an area of degraded vegetation and carry out the removal of weeds, and also to raise awareness of the group's activities and environmental issues in the local area. Another example is Cockrone Lagoon, at MacMasters Beach. The Cockrone Lagoon Foreshore Restoration Project was funded for $8,370 to restore an area of degraded vegetation beside the lagoon to act as a better nutrient filter and buffer between the houses and the roads on one side—again a great local project, involving lots of community volunteers. In the projects in both Avoca and MacMasters Beach, the signs we unveiled to celebrate the work that had been done were painted by local artists. That is unusual, even unique, and is very important.

In contrast with the work that the federal government has been doing, the Carr Labor government in New South Wales has scrapped the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust. This is one of the most disgraceful acts by any government. The catchment management trust was an important coordinating body that was set up by the previous Liberal state government to address one of the greatest environmental challenges in New South Wales. This body was used to seek funds under the Natural Heritage Trust, through which many millions of dollars has been contributed to the catchment management trust. No replacement body has been set up by the Carr government despite calls to do so. It is an absolute disgrace that the Carr government has scrapped the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Nehl)—Order! In accordance with standing order 275A, the time for members' statements has concluded.