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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2806 ..


One of the things that everyone values about Canberra is its treescape, its urban forest. It is the thing that we all marvel about. When we have visitors coming to the ACT they say, “I can’t believe that we are in the middle of a large city and there is so much green space; there are so many trees.” If you live where I do, it is a great joy to drive down Ginninderra Drive and come over the hill, with North Lyneham on your left and Lyneham on your right and look at the vista of north Canberra.

Mr Coe: Shame it goes to two lanes, though.

MRS DUNNE: Yes, shame about the road. But look at the vista of north Canberra and think that you are looking out across suburb after suburb, with thousands of houses—most of which you cannot see because of the investment, the time and the care that has been put in by previous governments and previous administrations before self-government; the vision to make Canberra an urban forest.

There are differences in application, the way we have dealt with street trees in particular places. Some of the suburbs of Belconnen I think have been not so well served by previous administrations that took away the order of the street tree policy and had a bit of a hotchpotch approach. There are some problems there.

But it does not matter where you live, as Mr Seselja says, whether it is in the inner north or the inner south with majestic deciduous exotic trees, or in the suburbs of Belconnen where you have mainly eucalypts, especially suburbs like Aranda, which is quite well planted with eucalypts, people value their street trees. People value them and have tried to work hard over the years to maintain them. They also augment them by plantings on their own property.

One of the most common issues raised with me by people in the ACT is a bemoaning of the fact that their street trees are dying. Yes, we are in a drought, and we have been in a prolonged drought. I suppose one of the hardy perennial themes of my time in this Assembly is that there was never planning; there was never work done to say, “What can we do to maintain the trees?” At various times we are taking out a large number of dead and dying trees every year, or we have been, and then there has to be the prudential judgement, if we are deep in drought, as to whether we replant now or wait for better times.

But what we have seen with Mr Stanhope in this place over the last few years is a complete mismanagement of the issue of the replacement of the urban trees. This is brought to its logical conclusion because it has just all become too hard for Mr Stanhope and he said: “Blow this for a lark. I am just not going to worry about it anymore and I will take the money and I will put it into my own personal tree farm, the tree farm that I am interested in, and I don’t care about the rest of the people.”

The people of the ACT do put a higher value on the trees that are in their yard or at the front of their house than the ones that are up on Dairy Farmers Hill. And Mr Stanhope always asks the question when he gets agitated about these issues: “Well, which one would you choose? Which one would you choose, Mrs Dunne? Would you prefer that we did this or that?”


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