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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 17 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1223 ..

Under this Bill, these trees would be listed on an ACT Tree Register and provided with a high level of protection.

Once this legislation is in place, Canberra’s tree owners will notice immediate benefits. Lessees will benefit from the streamlined ‘one-stop-shop’ approach for Development Applications involving trees as well as quicker responses to routine requests for approval to remove a tree. Further benefits will be apparent once the transition to the permanent scheme is complete.

The Government has developed a strategy for this transition involving a comprehensive survey of the city undertaken to identify trees of high importance. Tree protection measures, improving on the current interim scheme, would apply whilst the work is being undertaken. This arrangement would be progressively lifted from sections of the city once they have been surveyed..

The Bill provides for the declaration of Tree Management Precincts over areas of particular concern in recognition that urban forest values may warrant general protection on the grounds of heritage significance or threat from development activity.

A Tree Management Precinct may be declared in an area where:

there is an identified risk to the urban forest values due to development activity;

heritage values require the protection of the landscape; or

construction activity associated with new estate developments poses a significant risk to trees.

In addition, the Bill establishes a Tree Advisory Panel that will ensure that decisions made about trees and their management requirements will be subject to high calibre technical advice. There will also be improved procedures for review of decisions about trees.

This Bill represents a more strategic and targeted approach to tree protection than the interim scheme currently in place. It focuses tree protection measures on areas and particular trees where it is most needed. Importantly, in the majority of cases it will allow the people of Canberra to manage their own trees without interference.

I commend the Bill to the Assembly and table the explanatory statement.

A number of statutory decisions are associated with the Bill. They will be made in accordance with criteria that are to be developed as notifiable instruments. Although these instruments are still in draft form, I table them for the information of Members.

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