Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2917 ..
committee, which the Liberal Party unfortunately refused to engage in. The committee report does, in fact, address the issue of the urban forest renewal program. It is raised in the report as a key issue. But if the Liberals would like us to support their motion to restore funding for the urban tree renewal program, they might also wish to consider removing that silliness from their motion.
Before I conclude, I will briefly revisit some of the comments I made in my initial tree motion last year. I emphasised then that Canberra is a special city when it comes to street trees. We deserve our title of the bush capital. Canberra’s urban forest plays a key role in the carbon cycle, provides habitat for wildlife species, improves landscape amenity and improves the liveability of the city. The urban forest is very valuable for people living in Canberra. To that end my motion called on the government to follow 11 important steps when it comes to managing the urban forest to ensure best practice and to ensure an urban forest for future generations of Canberrans to enjoy.
To conclude, I reiterate that I am very pleased that this debate has made it clear that I think all sides of politics support our street trees and basically support the urban forest renewal program. I urge the Liberal Party to support my amendment because that will ensure funding for the urban forest renewal program going forward after the commissioner has given her report and the Assembly has considered it. I think that this will be a good outcome and I urge the Liberal Party and the Labor Party to support it.
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) (3.37): I thank Ms Le Couteur and indeed other members for the debate or conversation around the importance of the urban tree renewal program.
One of the things that I am particularly appreciative of in relation to the very strong interest which the Liberal Party are now taking in relation to street trees and the street tree program is that the Liberal Party have now engaged on the importance of urban forest renewal. I am particularly grateful today, whilst, of course, the Liberal Party intend to make some political point, presumably at the expense of the government on this issue, for this satisfying aspect of the debate.
During the budget debate last night, members would have also heard—and probably, to be more honest, endured—I think six speeches on this very same subject. So the debate we are having now we, in fact, had last night. I think every single member of the Liberal Party spoke on this issue during debate on the TAMS budget line. Indeed, Mr Seselja has, just today, given the same speech that he gave last night. And I will do the same.
But, having said that, for the first time—and I say this seriously—the attention and the focus of the Liberal Party is on the importance of the urban forest tree renewal program; the complexities and the difficulties that we face as a community in replacing, over the next 30 years, the majority of our mature, ageing, dying urban forests. In a rough sense, within the streetscape of Canberra there are 600,000-plus planted trees, many of them, as Ms Le Couteur has just indicated, reaching a point