I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation on the subject of the Tennyson Dunes.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Honourable members who have been here for a few years would have heard numerous implorings and exaltations to protect what is one of our remaining remnant dunal systems in the area of Tennyson, Semaphore, Semaphore Park and some of the surrounding suburbs. In the lead-up to the last election, commitments were made by both major parties to the protection of the dunes. In particular, I am quoting from a letter from the minister to Ms Val Wales and Mr Nicholas Crouch of the Tennyson Dunes Group, which is one of the community groups which seeks to preserve the dunes:
In the matter of the protection of the dunes, I am pursuing the dedication of the dunes as a coastal conservation reserve under the Crown Land Management Act 2009. I have advised the City of Charles Sturt and the Minister for Planning of my intention. I also note your concerns about the proposed construction of a shared pathway through the Tennyson Dunes as part of the Coast Park initiative. I have requested that the City of Charles Sturt consider a route for the Tennyson phase of the Coast Park that does not include the construction of a path through the dunes.
Further, the minister wrote a letter to Mr Mark Withers, chief executive of the City of Charles Sturt, dated 27 February 2002, in which he stated that he was 'progressing the dedication of the coastal conservation reserve under the Crown Land Management Act'. I quote:
The conditions of this dedication will ensure that inappropriate development does not occur in the reserve. In addition, the management plan to be prepared for this reserve will provide that any continuation of the Coast Park project will not be through the dunes.
As I have recently highlighted, given the ecological, educational and heritage values of the dunes, as well as the strong community support for the protection of the dunes, this Labor government is committed to its protection.
My questions for the minister are:
1.Does it remain the policy of this government that there will not be a pathway through the dunes?
2.Is he continuing to progress the coastal conservation reserve and when can we expect that given that it is well over 12 months since he wrote those letters?
3.What is the current status of heritage listing of the dunes?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:42 :04 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important question and her continuing interest in this area of policy. Minister Mullighan (the member for Lee) from the other place and I will ensure the protection of the dune system. We are both very concerned to make sure that they are adequately protected and the dedication of lands to that effect will be coming forward to this chamber in the not too distant future.
The discussions we have had with council and communities over the last 12 months—and indeed the Hon. Michelle Lensink has been down there at the dunes during some of these discussions—were to look at alternative proposals. The major concern was about a shared pathway through the dunes, not exactly a 'pathway through the dunes', but my concern is in fact a path that would actually bisect the dunal system and have negative impacts on the wildlife in the area, such as it is. There are alternatives, however, that can be considered, and these are the systems we are looking at.
One of the alternatives was to detour the users of bicycles around the dune system onto Military Road. That has some practical problems in terms of safety for cyclists and also traffic, but we do need to look at how we can actually protect the dunes as a first priority. The Coast Park will, of course, go ahead, and the linear arrangement is what we need to work on. But there are proposals we can consider which will protect the dunes and keep the pathway going through the same area without having a negative impact on the fauna and flora that is present in that dunal system.
These are the issues we will be discussing with the new council, and we are looking forward to a cooperative relationship with them in that regard. Mr Mullighan and I will ensure the protection of the dune system, whatever the resulting outcome is in terms of the pathway.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 15:43 :54 ): Supplementary question: what has been the advice of the Coast Protection Board, and is the government still pursuing a dedication of this area as a coastal conservation reserve?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:44 :06 ): I cannot recall advice from the Coast Protection Board at this present time, but we are pursuing dedication of the land for protection purposes.