Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2810 ..
the number of trees planted, when we jumped to—what was it, 7,000 or 8,000?—we invested $2.2 million in urban trees. In 2008, we spent $1.6 million. In 2009, the year just completed, we expended $2.3 million to plant 12,000 trees. Over that three-year period—when I referred to trees in the non-urban area—in 2007, we invested $684,000; in 2008, $660,000; and, in 2009, $1 million.
This year, as we strive to determine an appropriate process to maintain this enhanced level of investment in trees, most particularly urban trees, through a dedicated urban renewal forest program, we referred the issue, with the encouragement of the Greens, I have to say, to the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment. She will be producing a detailed report which she regrets will not be available till September. It is my intention that that report be referred to a standing committee of the Assembly for inquiry and report. I hope to receive the same level of support that we hear tonight from the Greens and the Liberals for an urban forest renewal program going forward.
There remains in the budget sufficient funds to replace all trees that die next year and the year after. The government’s intention in delaying the major funding of the urban tree renewal program was to actually ensure that we embraced a program endorsed by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and a standing committee of this place so that we could agree on the process. As I have said—and Ms Le Couteur, to her credit, mentioned this in her presentation—I have acknowledged the $1 million that remains specifically for the urban tree renewal program in the budget and it is there year on year. It is there. It was retained to ensure that there was no question that we could not continue to replace every dead tree that we remove. There is sufficient funding in this budget. As for this nonsense about not maintaining our streets, we intend to replace every single tree that is removed in this financial year. Then we will have—
Mr Smyth: But it was urgent.
MR STANHOPE: It remains urgent. That is why we are acting. That is why we planted 12,000 trees in this last financial year from an average of 1,000 under you. That is why we planted 12,000 trees—because we are committed to this issue of our urban forest and we show it through our actions. We planted twice as many trees last year as the Liberal Party planted in six years in government. We planted double the number of trees in the urban area last year that you planted in six years.
Mr Coe: Do you sleep well at night because of that?
MR STANHOPE: I sleep extremely well.
Mr Coe: Mr Assistant Speaker—
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Excuse me, Leader of the Opposition. Mr Coe, you have a question?
Mr Coe: Mr Assistant Speaker, under standing order 213, I seek that Mr Stanhope table the document he was quoting from.