Page 556 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

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the government is not abandoning these reforms, and that I will continue working closely with Greens MLAs.

I look forward to continuing to deliver the planning elements that will increase our tree canopy coverage and working with my colleagues across government on a wide range of measures that we are taking to make our city resilient to our changing climate. I present the following paper:

Variation 369 to the Territory Plan—Living Infrastructure in Residential Zones—Ministerial statement, 24 March 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (10.29): I rise to make a few remarks in support of Minister Gentleman’s statement regarding the progress of draft variation 369, known as the living infrastructure draft variation.

I have been a vocal supporter of this important reform that aims to embed the need for new requirements on residential blocks, both in greenfield developments and on infill sites. In my discussions with the community, there is strong support for the government to use regulation to futureproof our city and ensure that there is enough greenery to prevent heat sinks in a warming and drying climate.

The community is very supportive of the need to protect our current trees and plant enough in new developments to ensure that residents can access the benefits delivered by trees in relation to cooling our homes and our neighbourhoods, providing habitat, and increasing liveability and amenity.

There is a growing understanding of the need to ensure private, as well as public, open space, to ensure that homes are built in a manner that is appropriate for the size of the block they sit on, and that permeable surfaces enable water to soak into the soil in a way that is in harmony with human activity.

This draft variation has been under development for many years, in recognition of the fact that until now there have been no requirements for planting trees on private blocks, or limits on the house site footprints to ensure that every block has enough soil and space to plant them. This is a new and innovative policy, and positions the ACT as a world leader in creating a sustainable, biodiverse city.

We have always recognised that this reform is part of a broader range of initiatives, including new tree protection laws, the planning review and other instruments such as the estate development code. It is important that these pieces of work come together and there is clarity about how they work together.

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