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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1042 ..

negative impacts of weeds and pests. And we would like to see some more ongoing funding for strategic management programs, particularly at some of those special ecological sites and hotspots that we know are out there.

I note that the four-year Indicative Land Release Program is being prepared as part of this budget. I am looking forward to seeing the detail of this program, including an explanation as to how it fits into our existing 70 per cent infill target. I urge the SLA to take into account sustainability requirements for all land releases in all locations. We need to ensure that our block sizes allow enough space to meet the 30 per cent tree canopy coverage target and the 30 per cent permeability targets.

We need to make sure that our cycle and footpath connections encourage active travel. We need to make sure that our developments are built in such a way that they have a low energy footprint and allow people to maintain a comfortable life while the climate heats up and we are likely to get more and more natural disasters. We also need to make sure that we do not connect gas to any new developments anywhere. My planning, transport and city services committee recently made all these recommendations.

I note that in the government’s response they drew attention to the importance of draft variation 369 to the Territory Plan, which is our living infrastructure in residential zones plan. That is the one that sets our targets for tree canopy coverage. We are really looking forward to the outcomes of that consultation.

We are pleased that the government is supporting the development of a long-term plan for the phase-out of gas in the ACT. We are looking forward to new legislation to prevent future gas connections in residential greenfield and urban infill developments.

There are a lot of challenges in managing our environment sustainably. I am glad this progressive government is taking a proactive approach. I am keen to see more resources, some recurrent funding and some better coordination in future budgets.

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.37): The Canberra Liberals are ambitious for our territory’s environment and future. As I said in my first speech, Yerrabi residents and families, and all Canberrans, want politicians to be honest, to listen and to fix problems. That includes action to improve our environment—action such as keeping our parks, reserves and waterways clean, providing good facilities so that families can enjoy being outdoors, with enough public barbecues and park benches, protecting our environment, and reducing carbon emissions, with sensible policies that do not break the bank.

In my role as shadow environment minister, I hear from time to time that people living in Canberra’s inner north are the ones most concerned and passionate about the environment. The way I see it is that the wonderful residents in my electorate of Yerrabi care just as much about our environment as Canberrans in other parts. In some respects you could argue that they have unique concerns, such as low canopy cover in our newer suburbs and continued high-rise development that does little to enhance our natural environment and beautify our streetscapes.

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