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Tuesday, 7 December 1993
Page: 4019

Senator BURNS (4.03 p.m.) —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the document.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens is one of our national collecting institutions, like the Australian National Gallery. It was the first major botanic gardens to be devoted to Australian native plants. The collections include the magnificent living collections in the gardens at Black Mountain and Jervis Bay, the specimens collection in the herbarium, and a spectacular photographic collection. The gardens pioneered the computerised linking of each plant among all of these collections.

  The gardens has been a focus for this study—the use and enjoyment of Australian native plants. It has coordinated the development of the Australian plant conservation network to manage the national effort to grow endangered plants and to prevent their extinction. The Australian National Botanic Gardens plays other national roles in helping our neighbours in South East Asia and the Pacific to develop botanic gardens and to conserve their native plants.

  This management plan is the first formal recognition by the parliament of these important activities for this country. The gardens has suffered in the past because of the informal nature of its origin. The management plan provides the strategic directions for the gardens to develop over the next five years, and I hope that it will obtain the resources to improve its collections, its national role and its visitor services. Anyone who has visited the gardens realises what an excellent resource it is; people take pleasure in looking at the native flora of this country.

  The plan also discusses the initiative to combine the national gardens herbarium and research facilities and that of the CSIRO in a new centre for plant biodiversity research. A national herbarium linked to the other collections of the gardens and associated research are essential for managing our national botanic resources to conserve and utilise effectively our unique and wonderful plants. I commend the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the ANCA for this foresighted management plan.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.