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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 592 ..

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Braddock for his question. Of course, we hope to achieve 30 per cent canopy cover or equivalent—

Mr Parton: Or is it aspirational?

Mr Hanson: After the design phase.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members!

MR STEEL: across our city by 2045 as part of our Living Infrastructure Plan and Urban Forest Strategy, which I have released today. The focus of the strategy is to plant trees in areas where there is low canopy cover and also in areas where trees are reaching senescence and the end of their life, either due to climate change or because they have reached the end of their natural life.

The focus of the plantings, going forward, will be in areas like Gungahlin and Molonglo that have low canopy cover at the moment. In the strategy which I have released today there are some really telling photos: one that was taken before Woden Valley was developed, the other while it was being developed and then afterwards, today. What you see is that it does take time for an urban forest to grow. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The other best time is now. We are getting on with that work, and 9,000 trees will be planted this year as we ramp up the fifth largest tree planting in Canberra’s history.

Mr Parton: How long have you been in government?

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Parton, you have been quite persistent in interjecting and I would ask you to stop, please.

MR BRADDOCK: Minister, will the suburbs of Molonglo and Gungahlin achieve 30 per cent tree canopy cover in their own right by 2045?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. The canopy target has been set across the city and, as I said, the focus will be on areas with low canopy cover. In our new suburbs we know that the public space will have to do the heavy lifting in terms of areas where the trees will be planted. Of course, the government has also been consulting in the planning area on changes to ensure that new greenfield blocks have at least 15 per cent space for canopy cover to be grown. So the two combined, both leased private land and public land, will need to provide that extra tree canopy cover.

At the moment, across the city, based on the LiDAR data that we have, we know that there is 19 per cent canopy cover. Right across the city we actually need to increase canopy cover up to 30 per cent. We are looking forward to getting on with that work and also bringing forward future legislative reforms to the Assembly which will enact the objectives of the Urban Forest Strategy in the future.

Mr Parton: Aspirational.

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