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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 735 ..

The ACT government will report on progress against the actions in the strategy annually and will draft a report for public release and tabling in the Assembly. The measurement of canopy cover relies on a remote sensing technique known as LiDAR. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that updated LiDAR data has been collected recently and is in the process of being analysed. While the results are not yet available, I look forward to announcing the results in due course. Further to this, LiDAR surveys will continue to occur every five years, with a designated report on urban canopy cover being published following each survey.

That is consistent with the slow growth of the urban forest. It is not possible to see significant changes in a short period. This is a long-term strategy to grow our urban forest, and it is appropriate to look at it every five years to make sure that we are evaluating how the actions under the plan are contributing to the growth of the canopy right across the city and the impacts of the growth of the city on our urban canopy.

When undertaking a commitment like that within this strategy, it is hard to overestimate the importance of engaging with the community, which is a key part of the strategy. Earlier this month, I announced that the government has implemented a trial street forestry initiative to work with local residents at an individual street scale to get them involved in decision-making about trees planted in their street and to engage them to care for those trees. We know that that is important. People want the trees to be planted in their community. That gives them the best opportunity to grow up to maturity so that their neighbourhood, as well as the broader community, receives the benefits.

This program will complement other community-led initiatives that encourage Canberrans to get involved and share ownership of the forest around them. The strategy clearly identifies the need to renew our ageing urban forest and expand canopy cover through planting additional trees. Already the government has committed to a very dramatic increase in tree planting compared to previous years, with 25,000 trees to be planted from now until 2023, including 9,000 being planted in 2021 alone. The government will, of course, continued to invest in planting more trees. We know that hundreds of thousands of trees will need to be planted in order to replace the trees that are ageing and coming to the end of their life, but also we need to make sure that we do not just replace those trees but actually grow the overall urban forest from the current level of 19 per cent up to 30 per cent tree canopy cover or equivalent by 2045.

I look forward to working with members and the community in the coming months and years to ensure that our urban forest is well maintained, healthy and enhanced, for the benefit of Canberrans today and our future generations.

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (4.18): The Canberra Liberals are ambitious for our territory’s environment and future. As the Canberra Liberals’ shadow minister for the environment, I am pleased to speak on Mr Braddock’s motion about Canberra’s trees and green spaces.

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