Page 2192 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2022

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Ms Clay refers to the review of public land management plans for urban open spaces. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that the ACT government is currently preparing a single urban open space land management plan that will cover the whole of Canberra’s urban open space network and will replace the existing five land management plans. As part of this new land management plan, the ACT government will build on previous plans, with an increased focus on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and land management practices, community, sustainability and climate change, and recognising the important role that our community volunteers play in the management and maintenance of our public spaces.

The new plan will address the protection of areas that are not designated as conservation sites but where there is still volunteer planting activity occurring. It will consider the role of signage and other measures to protect the work of volunteers in these areas. They may not be a designated conservation area that is clearly marked with a bollard; nonetheless, we want to work on what are the opportunities to better protect those areas in the future and manage the land management practices around them. It will provide a number of strategies to support volunteers in their work.

The draft urban open space land management plan will be made available for public comment later this year. Key stakeholders, such as the volunteer groups, will be invited to provide comment as part of that process. Transport Canberra and City Services works closely with a variety of stakeholders when it comes to addressing land management issues, including EPSDD, the ESA, the Environment Protection Authority, the City Renewal Authority, developers, residents, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies. Working collaboratively is important to understand where our efforts to ensure safety and amenity meet with our obligations to promote and preserve biodiversity.

The engagement of the ACT government with local volunteer groups is really important, as Ms Clay refers to in her motion, particularly referring to the work of our adopt-a-park program, which is supporting the volunteer groups. I really welcome the opportunity that these grants give to those volunteer organisations, and for them to work collaboratively with government to foster biodiversity and promote different ways to think about land care and management in our urban footprint.

As a government, we must manage a range of priorities when it comes to urban land care, especially with regard to mowing. The current mowing program manages a range of issues, including public and staff safety, heritage and culturally significant sites, emergency management, infrastructure, amenity and of course management of the local environment. We cannot and should not place a single interest over any other in the way that we manage this program. A balance is required. There are many priorities in the system that we need to manage when it comes to mowing.

The last few years have been difficult with the mowing program. We have moved from drought to large amounts of wet weather. It has been difficult for our mowing team to achieve the amenity desired by the community. We have had that discussion before in the Assembly: when it is wet, you cannot mow, but then when you can mow you often have to do multiple passes of the same area in order to get the same

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