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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 600 ..

MR RATTENBURY: I appreciate Ms Lawder being more specific about what she was referring to. I will take that part of the question on notice.

Environment—urban vegetation

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. The parliamentary and governing agreement has climate change action listed as the first priority of this Labor-Greens government. It also aspires to a healthy natural environment, alongside reducing inequality and poverty. However, this is the same Labor-Greens government that has presided over the largest reduction in urban vegetation of any major city in Australia since 2013. Minister, when will this loss of plant and grass coverage across Canberra be reversed?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Mr Parton, for the question. I assume that you are referring to the same report that Ms Castley spoke about in the previous question. As noted in response to that question, I will take the question on notice in terms of the specific details that you are speaking of.

Certainly over the last period and into the future, this government has an absolute commitment to the environment and to protecting and enhancing biodiversity. This happens through our commitment through the Parks and Conservation Service in managing the national park and other parklands and also in supporting the Transport and City Services Directorate in managing land. Significant work happens in protecting environmental offset lands and reserves, and there are specific programs to protect wildlife as well.

MR PARTON: Minister, what is the Labor-Greens government doing differently to mitigate the urban heat island effects of this massive reduction in urban vegetation that it has not already been doing for the past eight years?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Mr Parton, for the question. The issue of the urban heat island is really significant and it is an issue that has been looked at and addressed through a range of strategies, including the Living Infrastructure Plan, which is a significant plan that looks at some of the key issues we need to address in relation to reducing urban heat.

Minister Steel has already spoken about the Urban Forest Strategy, which is a key element. There has also been discussion around planning tools, such as the proposed draft variation 369 or the living infrastructure draft variation, which will also be key elements in responding to the urban heat island and improving tree canopy. How we protect our reserves and our green spaces is also a key issue, and we continue to have significant investment in managing those areas as well.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, as a member of the Greens party, how can you justify being a minister in the Labor-Greens government that is making Canberra less green?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Ms Castley, for the question. I do not accept that we are working to make this less green—

Members interjecting—

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