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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1214 ..

The ACT Government uses advanced remote-sensing technology (known as LiDAR) to measure and track Canberra’s canopy cover in an accurate and repeatable manner.

In 2015, overall urban canopy cover was calculated at 19.08% using LiDAR data. The Government has acquired updated 2020 LiDAR data and is currently analysing this using the same methodology to ensure results are comparable. Results are expected to be available in mid-2021.

For the purposes of the canopy cover target, Canberra’s urban footprint is taken to be the ACT urban Divisions.

The ACT Government is committed to achieving sustainable development outcomes that meet the needs of the growing population, while retaining the values, features and landscape setting that make Canberra unique.

A range of actions are already underway, such as the Whitlam Display Village demonstration project which trials innovative living infrastructure solutions such as passive irrigation, permeable driveway surfaces and advanced street tree planting.

The ACT Government is also planting 54,000 trees in Canberra between 2020-21 and 2023-24 to contribute to the 30% canopy cover (or equivalent) target for Canberra's urban footprint.

As a final note, it is important to note there are many variables that affect canopy cover other than Government-managed removals and plantings over time.

Environment—Big Canberra Battery site

Mr Gentleman (in reply to supplementary questions by Mr Cain and Mrs Kikkert on Tuesday, 30 March 2021):

Neoen Australia Pty Ltd (a private proponent) is responsible for their own site investigations and submitted a referral application to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) for proposed battery storage at Blocks 1634 and 1635 Belconnen.

During the referral process, DAWE sought comment from the planning and land authority (the authority). In preparing a response to DAWE, the authority sought advice from a number of entities, including the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna.

DAWE determined the development to be a controlled action and that it would be assessed under the bilateral assessment agreement between the Commonwealth and ACT governments.

The proposal will now be assessed through a bilateral Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS will be prepared by the proponent and submitted to the authority for assessment. The EIS will provide greater detail on the site being proposed for the battery storage and will be required to identify environmental impacts relating to the proposal. The Planning and Development Act 2007 requires the proposal to be assessed as submitted and in the location proposed in the application.

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