Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Submission to the ACT budget 2013-14 process
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
We wish to submit the following recommendations for consideration in the allocation of resources for the implementation of conservation in the ACT:
1. FOG believes that adequate and predictable long-term funding for implementing the strategic plans for weeds and feral pests is imperative if these threats are to be contained. They constitute the biggest threat to the integrity of our remaining natural environment, and the longer they are left untreated the more resources are required to contain them – if they then can be contained.
2. The former Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment wrote two major reports – on the condition of natural grasslands in the ACT and on the condition of Canberra Nature Park, Molonglo River Corridor nature reserves and Googong Foreshores. We believe that resources should be allocated in the budget to ensure recommendations that have been agreed by Government are being implemented. This includes preparation and implementation of operational plans for all Canberra Nature Park nature reserves.
3. Monitoring is an extremely important component of management of conservation resources, to determine whether those resources are being maintained, to ascertain the most efficient means to manage those resources and to apply better management. Budget resources should be provided to manage adequately the conservation resources and to monitor the impacts to improve management. This will also complement monitoring undertaken by volunteer community groups, including Parkcare, throughout the ACT.
4. In the ACT there are remnants with natural values within areas of land that are outside the reserve system. These include open space parks within Canberra (for example, Mt Rogers in Melba and Umbagong Park), roadsides (particularly in rural ACT but also including some urban roadsides, e.g. Kerrigan Road, Charnwood), and rural properties, many of which contain remnants of endangered box-gum woodland. Resources should be applied to facilitate management for conservation outcomes to these areas. Resources should include allocation of funding to employ people on the ground with expertise in conservation management to provide advice to land managers (and contractors) and assist with implementation of actions on the ground.
5. We believe that there are many instances where the separation of units within government with environmental responsibilities has led to poor outcomes and practices. We encourage government to commit to election promises to combine the environmental arms into one directorate under one director, to ensure that planning, policy, research, monitoring and implementation of management actions are strategic, effective and efficient.
6. In 2004 the Labor government committed to establish a nature reserve at Kinlyside north of Hall, to protect valuable Box-Gum Woodland and threatened bird populations. We again request that consideration be given to establishing that reserve (and providing adequate funding and resources to manage it).
John Fitz Gerald
24 February 2013