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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 597 ..

MR STEEL: As advised during road closures that occurred during the recent rain events, there were alternative ways to get to the city, and that included routes through Boboyan Road.

Environment—urban vegetation

MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Minister, a recent report by the Conservation Council and Monash University shows that since 2013 the Labor-Greens government has overseen a reduction of total urban vegetation in Canberra from 60 per cent to 35 per cent, making us the worst performing major city in Australia. Minister, why has the Labor-Greens government been reducing tree, shrub and grass coverage in Canberra for the past eight years?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Ms Castley, for the question. I will need to take that question on notice in relation to the reduction of vegetation. Certainly, there has been significant work undertaken around protecting our biodiversity across the ACT, as well as addressing issues such as invasive weeds and threatened species management. This work is supported by the work of environmental volunteers and provides significant support in terms of enhancing our biodiversity—and we work really closely with them in supporting them in that work. But I will take the specific question on notice.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, when can Canberrans expect to see the Labor-Greens government actually deliver on their promises to address climate change, given this track record to date?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Ms Castley. As is evidenced in a range of work that has been happening over many years, the ACT government has shown a specific and leading commitment around climate change. This has included work around renewable energy but also significant investment in biodiversity and the environment. Significant commitments were made in the last budget in relation to increasing biodiversity, responding to issues such as invasive weeds, which is an impact of climate change, and a whole range of other activities to support our biodiversity and our parks and nature reserves.

MR BRADDOCK: Minister, what are you doing to protect the trees in Yerrabi from developers when they are clear-felling greenfield suburbs?

MADAM SPEAKER: Are you taking that supplementary, Mr Steel?

MR STEEL: Yes, I will take the question because it forms part of the Urban Forest Strategy and strategies around protecting remnant trees in the area. Canberra was built on the limestone plains, and while there is of course some woodland in some areas of Canberra the growth of the city has actually meant more tree plantings. Our intention here is to build up the level of canopy cover that we have with more diverse and resilient species, ones that can actually survive in a hotter and drier climate that we know we are going to have with climate change. The strategy outlines all of these measures. It is something that we are absolutely committed to do, and we will

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