Page 2951 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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which will utilise the full number of buses that we have and the full workforce that we will have based on the number of drivers that we have recruited to deal with staff absences, which has been an issue that has been caused by the pandemic. We are very confident that we can deliver that network and our focus will be on delivering reliable services, as it has been over the past three years, Madam Speaker. That’s why we are confident of delivering the network because of the extensive planning and preparation that has gone into delivering these services from term 1.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, why have you failed to secure sufficient staff to operate Canberra’s bus network.

Mr Parton interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Parton, enough.

MR STEEL: Every bus provider around the country and overseas has been affected by COVID-19 in terms of workforce shortages. In other cities, as Mr Parton is well aware, thousands have services have been cut as a result of that workforce impact. We did not have that impact on ours because we made decisions to run an interim network over this period and to recruit more staff so that we can deliver the full timetable from term 1. We have been undertaking a significant amount of recruitment. We have been doing that now for a number of months, and years, in the lead up to managing the workforce issues that we are experiencing now, which I think will get better over time, we hope, with the progression of the pandemic. Certainly, in term 1 we are very confident we will be able to recruit the up-to-60 staff needed before the end of the year to make the delivery of that timetable possible.

Trees—urban canopy

MR BRADDOCK: My question is for the Minister for Transport and City Services. I am like many Canberrans who love their trees and want to see them thrive. How do you ensure that trees being planted by TCCS thrive in their locations?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Braddock for his question. We do want to grow a thriving and diverse urban forest. It is part of our Urban Forest Strategy. TCCS puts in place a number of different policies to ensure that these trees that we do plant, the new trees, grow to maturity so that we get the full benefits of those trees. There are significant environmental, social, economic, aesthetic and other benefits for the community, and for people and for biodiversity as well.

We undertake, through species selection, to plant particular types of species that can survive in changing climate conditions. Our species guide has been updated based on expert advice from the ANU’s Fenner School, and our own environment directorate. We also have guidance in relation to our municipal infrastructure standards, and we are making sure we plant trees in the right location for that species to make sure they can thrive. Some trees have larger roots than others, so we need to make sure that those trees are planted in areas where there is a larger space for them to grow.

There are a range of different considerations. Watering is part of the care for new plantings as well, which is undertaken up to five years after a tree is planted. That is

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