Page 2134 - Week 07 - Thursday, 29 June 2023
damaging activity applications, which are expected through the new act; tree inspections; administration of the new canopy contribution agreements; tree maintenance, including the removal of end-of-life trees, which we know are occurring as our urban forest ages; as well as planting and watering new trees, so they can grow up into maturity.
This will be supported by approved customers service supports to make sure our community requests get to the right team and the right people. This funding will also support the continued operation of the Tree Advisory Panel and cultural tree assessments.
MS ORR: Minister, what does this investment do to manage the impacts of climate change?
MR STEEL: Climate is changing, and this does have an impact on our forest, but the forest has an impact on making our suburbs and our people more resilient. Our investments need to respond to the impact of our climate, particularly around living infrastructure. Last year, I announced we had an increase in funding to $153 million to support road maintenance, in acknowledgement that climate change and extreme weather events will continue to pose challenges in managing infrastructure.
Members will recall the very wet years that we have had as a result of La Niña. We expect a drier spring and summer in 2023, which will be a relief to some. This has had big impacts on our mowing program and has formed a key part of our decision-making in continuing our rapid response mowing team, even as we go into a drier period.
Climate change leads to more frequent and more extreme weather events, and the government has been making steady investments in upgrading stormwater infrastructure to respond to increasing flood risk. This has included upgrades in Narrabundah at Sprent Street park, which will soon begin construction, and there are also the investments in the budget at Kippax. We are also investigating what other stormwater improvements may be needed across our city in the future to support more buildings, which we know do have an impact on the flow of water around our city and need to be managed. Our investment also supports more tree planting, which will help us to also manage that flooding risk. I look forward to seeing more trees planted right across the city in the coming financial year.
MS CASTLEY: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in this year’s budget I have counted at least 19 major health projects that are delayed, between CHS and ACT Health. In last year’s budget there were at least 17 projects delayed. Capital works also show that CHS and ACT Health only spent $96 million out of the $185 million budgeted for the 2022-23 period. On Tuesday Mr Cain asked why you have failed to deliver on your budget promises and underspent on your initiatives, and you rejected the premise of the question. Minister, why did you reject the premise of the question when it is clear that you have failed to meet your own budget commitments?