Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2042 ..
MR STEEL: I thank Mr Braddock for his question and note his interest in the tree canopy on the north side in Gungahlin in particular. As part of our commitment to grow Canberra’s tree canopy and renew our tree canopy we are engaging the community. That is a big part of our strategy going forward to make sure we are working in partnership with local neighbourhoods on tree plantings so that they understand the benefit of the trees being planted and so they can have a role in decision-making on the tree species planted in the streets and parks around Canberra.
We have been piloting the program initially with six suburbs—Ngunnawal, Florey, Scullin, Mawson, Kambah and Bonython. We have engaged with more than 1,100 Canberrans. It has been very successful. Those areas have been identified specifically because they have low canopy cover and are more at risk of a heat island. That has been based on CSIRO modelling.
We will be looking at other areas in the future. We think this program will be a good way to engage with the community. It is not going to be the only way; of course, we have had other programs—whether it be Adopt a Park or other programs that have been delivered across government that can contribute to the canopy. But I am certainly happy to take the suggestion of Bonner on board in relation to that, and I think clearly in the areas of Gungahlin we have identified there need to be a lot more trees planted.
In relation to new suburbs, significant numbers of trees are planted by the Suburban Land Agency when they are developing those suburbs, and also their partners who are delivering en globo developments. Examples are Thorsby, with 2,631 trees, and Taylor, 8,112 trees. So significant number of trees planted in the greenfield suburbs when they are built and we are looking how to increase that with new suburbs like Whitlam, as they are progressively built. Once they are handed over to Transport Canberra and City Services we will look at how we can plan even more. (Time expired.)
MR BRADDOCK: What advice would you give to residents of new suburbs which are suffering from heat island effect to increase the tree canopy cover in their suburbs?
MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. These programs are not the only way to engage in helping to grow and maintain our tree canopy in Canberra. We need to maintain the trees we have and when trees are planted they are watered every six to eight weeks for up to five years by contractors and Transport Canberra and City Services. But residents can help by pouring on a bucket of water from the shower, grey water, if it is particularly hot to make sure the existing plants thrive. They can plant trees on their own private lease land, if they have the opportunity to do that, rather than just rely be on the trees on public land.
And, of course, new residents can benefit from a program that is very well regarded and has great longevity in the Canberra community—the plant issue scheme—to pick up plants from our government nursery, Yarralumla Nursery and plant those in their gardens. We have made sure there are tree species available as well as low-lying