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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 935 ..

To ensure that this can be achieved, we need to improve our management practices in our urban open spaces and around our neighbourhood forests by protecting trees with habitat hollows for wildlife habitat; varying public space maintenance guidelines to adapt to the tree locations; protecting young saplings that have self-seeded from our remnant trees in public spaces and open parks; strategically placing fallen logs to support bugs, birds and reptiles; and protecting the area surrounding remnant mature trees by creating mini-ecosystem pockets with grass and shrub plantings and fallen logs. This may be collocated with nature play in appropriate areas. As well as improving biodiversity and amenity, it also reduces the mowing requirements and costs that my colleague Ms Lawder was concerned about. In closing, I will say it again: “Let’s hear it for trees.”

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (10.57): It is a pleasure to rise to speak on another budget as the Minister for Transport and City Services. This area is responsible for many of the services and much of the infrastructure that Canberrans interact with on a day-to-day basis. It is a privilege to work in such a varied portfolio and be in touch with so many Canberrans about the things that are important to them at the local level, whether that is trees, footpaths, roads, waste, animals, libraries, public transport or cemeteries—and so much more.

Because of the breadth of this portfolio, Transport Canberra and City Services receives one of the largest shares of investment through the ACT budget—in the 2021-22 budget investing more than $780 million in delivering transport and city services for Canberrans.

I cannot do justice to the breadth of the portfolio in a short time, but I would like to draw out a few highlights which speak to our government’s priorities for Canberra and how we are investing in jobs today while building for the city’s future. The budget demonstrates our government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure across Canberra to create and protect local jobs. Through this budget we have been fast-tracking feasibility and design work on projects across Canberra to develop a pipeline of shovel-ready proposals for the coming years.

Design work is progressing for the new Sulwood Drive shared path; upgrades to Campbell, Duffy and Kaleen local shops, with consultation open; open space improvements at Telopea Park; and pedestrian and traffic improvements to the Beltana Road precinct in Pialligo. It is rubbish for the opposition to suggest that there is no work happening on that road. Feasibility studies will also be undertaken to assess improvements to the intersections of Streeton Drive with Heysen Street and Namatjira Drive in Weston.

We are also investing in a range of local infrastructure projects through the second phase of the Australian government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, including new shade sails and fencing at playgrounds; a new half pipe at Belconnen skate park; and a boost to road maintenance and pothole repair. There is also the ACT government’s investment in surge capacity for mowing during what has been a very wet season—not unprecedented, but certainly very wet.

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