Page 1016 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2023

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Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Urban Forest Bill 2022

Debate resumed from 3 August 2022, on motion by Mr Steel:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.14): I rise to speak on the Urban Forest Bill 2022. The purpose of this bill to give effect to actions in the Urban Forest Strategy 2021 to 2045 and provide a legislative framework for managing trees on private and public land in line with Canberra’s tree canopy target of 30 per cent canopy coverage by 2045.

The bill will also replace the Tree Protection Act 2005, which sought to protect trees in the ACT. This bill will contain many of the elements from the Tree Protection Act including the establishment of a register of significant trees with appropriate levels of protection, approval requirements for tree damaging activities, approval requirements for groundwork activities within the tree protection zone of a protected tree, approval requirements for tree management plans, the ability to make directions with regard to tree protection matters and provide offences and enforcement provisions.

Some of the new elements this bill will introduce regarding the protection of trees include an:

… updated definition of protected trees…will extend legal protections to an increased number of regulated trees (being trees which meet minimum size requirements on leased land) and to registered and remnant trees in future urban areas.

The bill will extend legislative protection to all public trees, which:

… previously received limited protections under the Public Unleased Land Act 2013. This reform will provide greater legislative consistency in urban tree management and will provide appropriate protections and administrative processes for managing the protection of public trees.

It also introduces a canopy contribution framework to ensure:

… live trees approved for removal are replaced through establishing canopy contribution agreements with applicants as a condition of tree removal. Canopy contribution agreements will be established according to a hierarchy that requires replanting on site where possible, or equivalent financial contribution where replanting is not possible…The establishment of this framework provides a

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