ACT Legislative Assembly

Inquiry into a Proposal for a Mammal Emblem for the ACT

Canberrans can now vote on a Mammal Emblem for the ACT

A Legislative Assembly Committee is looking into a proposal for a mammal emblem for the ACT.  We currently have a floral emblem (the Royal Bluebell) and a bird emblem (the Gang-Gang Cockatoo).  The ACT is the only Australian State or Territory not to have a mammal emblem.

The first question for the Committee to consider was whether the ACT should adopt a mammal emblem or not.  The Committee received 29 submissions, all of which supported the idea of adopting a mammal emblem. To read the submissions, click on the ‘submissions’ tab below.

The Committee must now decide which mammal to recommend to the Assembly, and is interested in learning which mammal the people of the ACT want as their emblem.

People living in the ACT had the opportunity to have their say in an online poll, which was open from 6 June to 26 June 2018.  The poll was publicised on The Canberra Times website, ABC Radio, Mix 106.3 Radio, 2CC Radio, Twitter and Facebook.

How the Committee chose the shortlist

The animals that gained prominence in submissions to the Committee were the Eastern Bettong, Echidna, Little Forest Bat, Southern Brush-Tailed Rock-Wallaby, and Spotted Tail Quoll.

In May, the Committee met with wildlife and conservation experts at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to learn more about mammals in the ACT.  Information about these visits is available at:

When choosing a shortlist of mammals for this online poll, the Committee considered the following factors: the animal's connection to the ACT region, its contribution to the local environment, classification as 'vulnerable' or 'endangered', and the potential for publicity as the Territory emblem to contribute to important conservation efforts underway or planned.

Based on these criteria, the Committee decided that the two strongest candidates for selection as a mammal emblem are the Eastern Bettong and the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby.  In the online poll you are invited to tell us which of these two animals you prefer.

The story of the Eastern Bettong
The Eastern Bettong once lived across southern Australia but, due to human activity and the introduction of feral species, became extinct on the mainland in the 1920s.  A population of bettongs from Tasmania was reintroduced to Canberra in 2012, and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary in Canberra is currently the only place that people can see a bettong on mainland Australia.  Mulligans Flat are trialing a program reintroducing bettongs to the wild in the Lower Cotter Catchment. Bettongs have an important role in the ecosystem, turning over soil to look for food, which promotes regeneration of vegetation. 

The story of the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby
The Southern Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby has a long association with the ACT and important cultural connections with the local Aboriginal community.  Due to hunting for the fur trade and the introduction of feral animals, the Southern variant of the species is at risk of extinction.  In 1996 Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve began a conservation program from a captive population of just three animals. Using pioneering breeding techniques Tidbinbilla has successfully bred over 60 animals, and contributed to reintroduction and partner conservation programs. The Tidbinbilla population is now around 30, and after a new sanctuary is constructed in 2018 there are hopes the population will reach 100, enabling their reintroduction into the wild.

The poll results, as well as other material, will be used to inform the Committee’s consideration of which mammal should be chosen as the ACT mammal emblem. The Committee is due to report by September 2018.

Any enquiries can be directed to the Committee Secretary, phone 6205 0124 or email

At its meeting on 30 November 2017, the Legislative Assembly approved the following referral: That this Assembly:

1. notes:

  1. that the current emblems for the ACT are the floral emblem, the Wahlenbergia gloriosa (Royal Bluebell) adopted in 1982 and the faunal emblem, Callocephalon fimbriatum (Gang-gang Cockatoo) adopted in 1997;
  2. that all other Australian States and Territories have a mammal emblem, distinct from their bird emblem;
  3. that Tasmania was the last State or Territory to adopt a mammal emblem, with the Tasmanian Devil formally proclaimed in May 2015;
  4. that other emblems adopted by other States and Territories are the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat (South Australia), Numbat (Western Australia), Red Kangaroo (Northern Territory), Koala (Queensland), Platypus (New South Wales) and the Leadbeater’s Possum (Victoria); and
  5. that there has been an increase in local interest of the fact that the ACT does not have a mammal emblem;

2. further notes that the ACT Government does not place legislative requirements around the use of the existing faunal and floral emblems, meaning they can be used by anyone on publications, uniforms or websites; and

3. Resolves that the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services shall report back to the Assembly on whether the ACT should have a mammal emblem and a recommendation on what that should be by September 2018.

Terms of Reference PDF (134.8 KB) Word (78.5 KB)
Submission 01 - Radosavljevic, Dunja PDF (225.1 KB)
Submission 02 - Burton, Kerry PDF (214.1 KB)
Submission 03 - Wright, Rebecca PDF (205.3 KB)
Submission 04 - Wansink, Chris PDF (204.2 KB)
Submission 05 - McKinnie, Drew PDF (205.9 KB)
Submission 06 - Marc PDF (230.2 KB)
Submission 07 - van Vliet, Peter PDF (198.1 KB)
Submission 08 - Forde, Jessica PDF (206.6 KB)
Submission 09 - Craigie, Liam PDF (222.6 KB)
Submission 10 - Dodd, Jude PDF (199.5 KB)
Submission 11 - MacDougall, Susan PDF (205.4 KB)
Submission 12 - Steet, Malcolm PDF (228.8 KB)
Submission 13 - Gunn, Anthea PDF (212.2 KB)
Submission 14 - Pennay, Michael PDF (285.5 KB)
Submission 15 - Bond, Damien PDF (309.4 KB)
Submission 16 - Squires, Steven PDF (1.4 MB)
Submission 17 - Woodlands & Wetlands Trust PDF (1.8 MB)
Submission 18 - Fewtrell, Terry; and Headon, David’ PDF (970.8 KB)
Submission 19 - Scouts Australia PDF (2.9 MB)
Submission 20 - Franklin Early Childhood School PDF (207.9 KB)
Submission 21 - Jones, Benjamin PDF (315.9 KB)
Submission 22 - Flanagan, Jayne PDF (350.9 KB)
Submission 23 - triple j PDF (222.7 KB)
Submission 24 - Wandrag, Elizabeth PDF (175.7 KB)
Submission 25 - McCarthy, Ingrid PDF (227.0 KB)
Submission 26 - Aranda Primary PDF (911.1 KB)
Submission 27 - Ostyn, Ivo PDF (3.2 MB)
Submission 28 - Williams, Tyler PDF (361.0 KB)
Submission 29 - Mark Collins PDF (1.2 MB)
1a. Media Release - Mammal Emblem Referral 30 Nov 2017 PDF (125.5 KB) Word (73.6 KB)
1b. Statement Pursuant to Standing Order 246A -30 November 2017 PDF (187.8 KB) Word (30.5 KB)
2. Media Release - Assembly Committee looks forward to hearing community views on a Mammal Emblem for the ACT - 16 Feb 2018 PDF (127.8 KB)
3. Media Release - Canberrans have 4 days left to have their say on a Mammal Emblem for the ACT - 20 March 2018 PDF (453.7 KB) Word (85.0 KB)
4. Media Release - Canberrans can now vote on a Mammal Emblem for the ACT - 12 June 2018 PDF (358.3 KB)
School Information Package PDF (299.1 KB) Word (657.9 KB)


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Page last updated on 30 November 2017
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT