Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1044 ..
While some Canberrans may believe that having six Greens members in government will guarantee a more environmentally active government, I am still not convinced. In the last sitting week, I questioned why Greens MLA Mr Braddock felt the need to move a motion drawing his government’s attention to its own commitment to increase Canberra’s tree canopy. As Mr Braddock noted, the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement lists as a key priority continuing work towards reaching a 30 per cent urban tree canopy. Does Mr Braddock have so little faith and confidence in his government honouring its election commitments that he needs an Assembly motion to hold them to account?
We know not to invest too much in the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement, not to mention their election commitments that were not included in the agreement. These commitments, such as much-needed funding for our community catchment groups that the Canberra Liberals campaigned for, are subject to budget considerations, we are told.
In relation to our tree canopy, Canberra is losing 3,000 trees each year. Parks and reserves are poorly maintained, and nature strips are often weed infested. As I said earlier, many streets in Canberra’s newer suburbs are almost treeless, with communities deprived of much-needed green space. Canberrans are rightly proud of their bush capital status, but we cannot take this for granted.
The Canberra Liberals went to the last election with a strong environment policy, including planting one million trees to increase our urban tree canopy, to provide guaranteed green space, improve our parks and reserves, and reduce emissions. The Canberra Liberals understand the importance of achieving at least a 30 per cent urban tree canopy sooner rather than later, and want to emphasise the tripartisan support for this worthy environmental goal.
Before concluding, I wish to raise one more issue about government wasting precious environmental dollars. I speak of the $600,000 wasted on a failed scheme to release eastern bettongs into the wild, with all 67 bettongs and their young perishing. I have called on the environment minister, Ms Vassarotti, to rule out any more expensive bettong trials because, as I said at the outset, Canberrans do want and strongly support action to protect our environment and reduce carbon emissions, but they demand and deserve sensible policies that do not break the bank—not wasteful, hare-brained schemes.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (10.44): In stark contrast to my colleague, I am really impressed and excited to see the green stink all over this budget, particularly in the context of environment and water. You would know, as a fellow member for Brindabella, Madam Speaker, and it has been put to me, that we represent more trees than we do people. I am really excited to be a Greens member for Brindabella, to see so much new spending and so many new, exciting initiatives in this budget to protect our beautiful environment.
One of the issues that I am particularly excited to highlight, Madam Speaker, is the $250,000 commitment to the floating wetlands project in Lake Tuggeranong. No