The battle between the Eastern Bettong and the Southern Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby to see who will be the ACT’s new mammal emblem has been decided by a margin of just 40 votes.
More than 3,500 Canberrans voted in a public poll to choose the ACT’s mammal emblem, with ‘Rhonda’ the Rock Wallaby winning the popularity contest over ‘Brian’ the Bettong.
The results of the ACT’s Mammal Emblem Survey were announced on Tuesday morning (31 July) in the ACT Legislative Assembly, but the Legislative Assembly’s environment committee has recommended choosing both mammals as the territory’s emblem since the poll was so close.
The committee’s chair, Suzanne Orr, said the rock-wallaby was ultimately chosen because it stood to gain the most from the increased publicity that would come with being the territory emblem, and because the species is endangered, while the Eastern Bettong has an established population in Tasmania.
“We learned during this inquiry that there is great affection in the ACT community for both the Bettong and the Rock-wallaby,” Ms Orr said. “Given the incredibly close results of the poll, the Committee invites the Assembly to consider the possibility of awarding mammal emblem status to both animals.”
The adoption of a mammal emblem will lead to a new design of a Coat of Arms for the ACT and the possible redesign of the ACT flag.
While NSW is home to the platypus emblem, Queensland has the koala, and South Australians love their hairy-nosed wombats, the ACT has long been missing out. The committee was tasked with finding a mammal emblem for the territory after it was realised that the ACT was the only Australian state or territory without one.