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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1730 ..

Urban forest alone is one of the key ways that we can reduce the impact of a changing climate on the health and wellbeing of our city. That is why we are continuing to invest in our urban forests through one of the largest tree planting programs that has been undertaken. That is reflected in the living infrastructure plan in the Planning Strategy itself but also in the Urban Forest Strategy, to try to grow and maintain our tree canopy cover, going forward.

Importantly, part of the Urban Forest Strategy was engaging with the community. This is also a key part of the national park city charter and the charter values of decision-sharing, learning and working together, and relationships with nature and each other. We have been doing that in a variety of ways.

One is through the adopt a park program, where we funded 32 community groups across the city in a range of different ways. One was the microforest project, the transformation of a suburban park in Downer which started in September 2020. It was a partnership with the Climate Factory and local residents, who came together to connect to nature by planting canopy cover in our local parks for everyone, old and young, to enjoy.

The Fetherston Garden Friends group is another one in my electorate—and Dr Paterson’s electorate—that has benefited from that program. Fetherston Gardens is a fantastic legacy of Canberra’s history; it is something that we want to enhance, going forward, and make more people aware of. It is a real hidden gem in Canberra.

We have also embarked on a new program, the Street Forestry Program, which is designed to engage with residents around tree planting in their street to help protect our forest and ensure that our new trees can grow to mature trees that give us a real benefit.

Importantly, in the approach we have taken in the Planning Strategy, and also in our Urban Forest Strategy and living infrastructure plan, we have been committed to taking an ecological approach, supporting biodiversity in our city. We want to see local ecosystems protected and supported through a multistorey urban forest. A range of different actions are outlined in the plans.

The charter notes that trees and, particularly, flowering plants are important. We know how important flowering plants are—both trees and shrubs—in providing habitat and for pollinating insects. That is a key part of our plan.

Another key charter principle is time outdoors, culture, art, playing, walking, cycling and eating. In my portfolio, active travel has been a big focus of what our government has been doing and will form a big part of what we intend to do in the future.

Canberra has long been recognised as a great place to cycle, and we want to enhance that reputation, going forward. We see this as a key part of making our city a great place to live and making sure that we can reduce emissions, going forward.

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