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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2809 ..


MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (9:21): Mr Speaker, just to bust a few of the myths that have been perpetrated here—a bit of myth busting—it is important, as it always is in a debate, to provide just a touch of context and a bit of a brush with reality. We need it here in relation to issues around trees—street trees, urban trees and tree planting in the ACT.

As they researched their motion for tomorrow in relation to this issue, I am sure the Liberal Party would have looked at their record in government on tree planting. The Leader of the Opposition, essentially, I think, summarised his understanding of the issue of trees by basically advising the Assembly that trees did not die when the Liberals were in government so they did not need to be replaced. That perhaps explains why in their period in government the Liberals averaged somewhere in the order of $150,000 a year in urban tree planting and planted somewhere, we think, in the order of 1,000 trees a year.

I have the numbers here. I think that in the context of a reasonable, educated debate around trees, the urban tree renewal program and what the government is seeking to achieve you need to look at the numbers in relation to urban tree planting in the ACT over the last 10 years. In 2001, 1,400 urban trees were planted in the ACT; in 2002, 969; in 2003, 1,600; in 2004, 2,700; in 2005, 3,900; and, in 2006, 3,300. In 2007-08—and this is a significant change in government attention to this particular issue, investment in and understanding of the importance of street trees in our urban amenity—we planted 7,181 urban trees. In 2008-09, we planted 11,162 urban trees. In this last financial year—just to provide the absolute context here—we removed 1,700 dead trees in the urban area and we planted 12,146 trees in the urban area. We removed 1,700 and we planted 12,000. That was just urban trees. As part of the major commitment which I have to trees, and not just urban renewal, in the last three years—and it is interesting going back through the Liberal years in relation to non-urban tree plantings—

Mr Hargreaves: How many in 2001?

MR STANHOPE: There was none. Indeed, in the first five years of this government there was none either. Three years ago, I decided to change that. In 2007-08, after a decade of no non-pine, non-urban tree planting—three years ago—in a major reforestation, we planted 252,000. In 2008-09, we planted 177,000 and, in 2009-10, we planted 270,000—a total of 699,000 non-urban tree plantings in the Cotter catchment over three years by contract and in partnership with Greening Australia, whom we funded.

Just to go to the numbers—in other words, the dollars—in relation to this, under the Liberals we averaged, as I said, somewhere in the order of $150,000 a year for tree maintenance. In 2002, this government spent $173,000. In 2003, we were spending $130,000 a year. In 2004, we jumped to $500,000. In 2005, we spent $668,000 and, in 2006, $860,000. Then in 2007, when we began to invest, as I indicated, in relation to


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