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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 733 ..

existing trees. Finally, Shane Rattenbury, as Minister for Climate Change, set the 30 per cent tree canopy target for our urban area in 2019.

Of course, great work has already been done around our city, our country and the world. Other examples include New South Wales, where Greening Australia’s Cooling the Schools program is empowering children to plant trees and look after them as they grow. Their Biodiverse Corridors program offers great potential in making the currently unpleasantly exposed routes to schools and community activities enjoyable, beautiful and ecologically beneficial.

Closer to home, the microforest programs spearheaded by local landscape architect Edwin Robinson are creating biodiversity hubs that help regulate microclimates and provide critical habitat in our suburbs. In fact, a microforest might be a great option for the recently reprieved Coolo Park, especially given the mental, physical and environmental wins that you have already heard about today. As an aside, given the number of trees needed in Gungahlin, there may also be scope to consider a second public nursery a little closer to where the plantings need to happen.

In summary, the past work of our public servants, community groups, volunteers and researchers has made this the bush capital. This motion is to reaffirm the Assembly’s commitment to support this work and ensure that it happens. Every party here took significant policies to the people during the last election campaign with respect to trees. Today is a chance for all parties to affirm the hard work of significantly increasing Canberra’s urban trees for the benefit of the people of Canberra.

This motion is about how we create the accountability measures to ensure that we deliver for those people of Canberra. I look forward to working together to realise the vision of making every Canberra suburb green and leafy, and walking through Gungahlin’s urban areas in years to come under the shade of the trees.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (4.10): I thank Mr Braddock for this motion on an important matter that has widespread support throughout the Canberra community and in this place. Our government takes seriously the responsibility to maintain and enhance our urban forests, not only to mitigate the impacts of climate change but also to enhance the livability and amenity of our city, improve biodiversity and protect Canberra’s special character.

Just this week I released the Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045, and I am pleased to table it in the Assembly today. I present the following paper:

Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045—Report.

This strategy was informed by experts, contemporary best practice and the best available data. Equally importantly, it was influenced by the values and priorities of the Canberra community. Consultation on the draft strategy in 2020 resulted in 199 online survey responses and 48 written submissions, of which 92 per cent agreed with the vision and 97 per cent agreed with the six objectives outlined under the plan.

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