Page 2191 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2022
government employees involved in our urban land management to ensure that they have what they need to understand the ecological benefits of our grassy ecosystems and how best to protect them.
I am pleased to bring forward this motion calling for greater education and different tools for the government and community to learn and share about the values of urban habitats, particularly our grassy ecosystems. I am excited to see all of the different people involved and the different agencies sitting around a table and talking together about the best outcomes for environmentally sound urban land management in the ACT.
I am excited to see better protection for our urban conservation areas and to see mowing done in the right way and in the right places. I am looking forward to the community conversation, the education and the signage that will show us what we have, how amazing it is, the different creatures that live there and the different species that we have here, some of which we have only in this region and nowhere else.
I am looking forward to hearing the results of this work and what resources government needs for even better protection by the last sitting week in 2023. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
(Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (4.24): I rise to speak on Ms Clay’s motion about urban land care and the importance of promoting and preserving biodiversity and our urban conservation sites. The ACT government is strongly committed to caring for urban land management, but we recognise that the community has expectations of government to keep their city tidy and ensure safety and amenity. We must strike the important balance of keeping Canberra’s public open spaces enjoyable for everyone and taking care to protect and conserve the local environment at the same time.
That is why the government carefully designates conservation areas and marks them with clear bollard signs, ensuring that our mowers do not mow those areas, for critical environmental and biodiversity benefit. Transport Canberra and City Services works closely with the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to identify areas with conservation sites that do not need to be mown, with careful work undertaken to identify safe mowing regularity, timing and height to ensure the best outcomes for the flora and fauna on site. It is really important to say that this is not a simple question of “mow or don’t mow”. There are many sites that actually do require mowing in order to support the conservation of those sites and some of the rare or endangered species that may exist on those sites as well.
All conservation sites are clearly identified on our mowing map, for the awareness of all mowing staff and contractors. The mowing crew do take steps to reduce the impact that they have on the local environment, with clear guidelines to reduce the inadvertent spread of weeds. This includes regular cleaning and washing down of mowers, mowing contractors engaged in directional mowing where appropriate and moving from areas with a low quantity of weeds to higher quantity areas, to reduce spread. Contractors also make regular efforts to prevent clippings from entering stormwater infrastructure and collecting on roads and paths.