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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 July 2019) . . Page.. 2559 ..


National Tree Day

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.46): I rise to talk about National Tree Day which took place in Canberra on the Sunday just past, 28 July. Planet Ark initiated the first National Tree Day, which is traditionally held on the last weekend in July because it is the most appropriate day across many regions. But the Planet Ark website acknowledges that this may not suit everyone or every region and that that is okay; you can have your tree day event at any time that suits because every day can be tree day. Canberra, of course, celebrates Tree Week in May because that is when our autumn leaves are at their best.

The ACT has an enormous number of tree varieties, and we can thank the early government bureaucrats for that. They believed that it was important to encourage people to plant trees, so when you bought a block of land in the ACT you were given some free trees from the Yarralumla Nursery.

The free plant issue scheme started in 1930 with the intention that Canberra would retain the garden city concept. The idea was that by being provided with species suitable for the local climatic and soil conditions new home owners would plant trees that had a reasonable chance of success in our climate. The result has been wonderful avenues of trees and wonderful gardens in the suburbs old and new. The scheme continues to today for anyone who has purchased a brand new residential block of land in the ACT at no cost to the householder. Many early home builders were new to the gardening scene so trees that would grow too big were sometimes planted too close to houses et cetera, which may have created dilemmas later down the track.

With increasing development a lot of pressure has been placed on Canberra’s bush capital and garden city image and on the trees themselves. In this time of changing climate trees are and should be one of the most precious assets in our city. They capture carbon, they provide valuable shade and wind protection, they are home to wildlife, they have the capacity to reduce heat and they beautify our suburbs.

Some trees in Canberra have a public profile in themselves. For example, at the end of Kings Avenue, there is the York bunya pine, planted by the Duke of York at the opening of Old Parliament House in 1927. At Government House is a much-photographed yellow box gum which is several hundred years old. Corroboree Park in Ainslie has the corroboree tree, a focal point for the local indigenous community before white settlement.

There are rows of trees in Haig Park running between Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain, and these are on the ACT Heritage Register. At the top of Anzac Parade are some pine trees as part of the Kemal Ataturk Memorial which were grown from seeds from the Gallipoli lone pine, and there are many varieties of trees at the Arboretum. Many trees have been planted by visiting dignitaries; the PNG Prime Minister was our most recent visitor to plant a tree there.

Trees make great presents and planting trees is a most worthwhile exercise. I went to a Tree Day event in Bonython on Sunday, and I thank local resident Nev for


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