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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1164 ..


Ms Lee: Mr Milligan’s question clearly was: what will be the average price of a tree in Canberra? I ask the minister to be directly relevant.

MADAM SPEAKER: The minister has a minute left. I ask him to come to that.

MR STEEL: Thank you, Madam Speaker; very impatient. We are getting on with that work, and we intend to bring that forward as one of the actions under the strategy coming forward. I expect that will come forward potentially through legislation later on in the Assembly. I would not want to pre-empt that. There is a lot of policy development that needs to occur to make sure that a canopy contribution scheme will work for us here in the ACT.

We on our side of the parliament are committed to protecting trees. We have a very ambitious target of getting to 30 per cent tree canopy cover. We are not going to get there just by planting new trees. We need to make sure that we protect the ones we have, including those affected by potential development in the future, and that we provide disincentives for developers to remove trees in the first place, to protect as many trees as we can and grow more, to make sure that we can get the benefits of that canopy cover into the future.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, how will you price Canberra trees? How many will you price and how will the scheme work, given that you hope to have it operating by the end of the year?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. I do not think it is in order, Madam Speaker. He is asking for an announcement of policy. I have clearly said that we are in the process of developing that policy, and we look forward to making that public at the appropriate time. It would require legislation if it was implemented here in the ACT, so it would be considered by the Assembly, and no doubt with an Assembly inquiry as well.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, what modelling have you done about how many trees the project will save each year?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for her question. We will be doing a whole range of policy work in the lead-up to the introduction of any future scheme, to help protect urban forests. That is just one action under the entire strategy. We know that, due to the changing climate, and due to trees reaching senescence, the end of their life, we will lose around 200,000 over the period of the strategy. So it is really important that we put in place measures to protect the trees that we have, and make sure that we are planting new trees as well, to build up our urban canopy. There is policy work underway, and we encourage all members of the Assembly to support that work. We have had, until this point, a bipartisan view on this matter, in relation to trees. I think we are starting to see a split emerging.

Government—community engagement

MR DAVIS: My question is to the Chief Minister and it relates to the YourSay program. Chief Minister, Canberrans love having their say and they value being a part


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