Page 3243 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022

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In touching on this I will briefly just respond to some of the comments of Ms Lawder in relation to some of the work that we are doing in terms of managing our whole ecosystem. I would implore the Canberra Liberals, if they are serious about being protectors of the environment, to take a whole-of-ecological approach, a whole biodiversity approach, when we look at managing our environment. The way that we manage invasive pests and species has the support of organisations such as the Invasive Species Council and the RSPCA, as things that we are doing reluctantly as a way to manage our whole biodiversity.

When we look at some of the things that we cover in the budget, I am particularly proud of our Connecting nature, Connecting People initiative. This is a $3 million initiative over two years which will strengthen and enhance the ACT’s urban biodiversity. It will deliver benefits for both people and our patches of planet. This project will achieve improved ecological connectivity, which is critical for nature to survive and thrive in a changing world and urban cooling in the ACT.

This initiative addresses five key challenges facing the way that we build and design our cities. These include biodiversity loss, climate change, closing the gap, the right to a healthy environment, and urban consolidation. That, my colleagues, is pretty good bang for buck.

The innovative planned work includes: the integration of urban habitat connectivity mapping into the new planning system spatially and, through the development of policy and guidelines, this will inform government developers and community decision-making to deliver ecologically sustainable development and aid the delivery of commonwealth threatened species habitat recovery; the production of biodiversity-sensitive urban design guidelines to help shape residential and commercial built form development as a core component of moving towards best practice, sustainable development and strengthened delivery of the living infrastructure program; effective coordination across government to ensure the delivery of multiple key strategies and reforms to ensure that Canberra can adapt to climate change; expanding and improving the Canberra nature map platform to boost the ability of citizen science to provide accurate data to build biodiversity and landscape knowledge, which the ACT could not afford to otherwise collect, and further populate the urban habitat and connectivity mapping; the restoration and protection of priority urban sites that will deliver urban cooling, habitat protection and community amenity; and the co-design and incorporation of Ngunnawal knowledge into site restoration, community infrastructure and engagement and the developed mapping policies and guidelines.

While I would not usually delve into the detail this deeply, I do want to make two points here. First, to turn things around, we need to embed biodiversity considerations like we are doing with climate change into everything we do to help shape Canberra’s future. Second, while you can count on me to be continuing the fight for adequate investment to improve the state of biodiversity in the ACT in future budgets, we can do a lot with a little if we address problems in an integrated way and work together.

In relation to environment protection, I have been delighted to see progress around commitments to include the right to a healthy environment into the Human Rights Act.

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