Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3219 ..
track further progress as the city’s tree canopy continues to grow towards our ambitious target of 30 per cent coverage by 2045.
Unfortunately, this coverage is not always equal across the city. A great new interactive canopy cover mapping tool is now available on the ACT government website, which allows Canberrans to check the canopy coverage on their own blocks, and other blocks as well. I encourage all members to jump online and have a look.
This tool shows us that older suburbs, like those in central Canberra and the Woden Valley, have very well-established tree canopy cover, at 28.2 per cent and 30.6 per cent. By contrast, some of the newer suburbs have substantially less, like Gungahlin, which only has 14.3 per cent coverage, and the Molonglo Valley, which has 8.6 per cent coverage. However, the older parts of Canberra also have a high proportion of ageing trees which will begin to reach end of life in coming years, requiring replanting.
We are committed to ensuring that future generations have equitable access to the many benefits of trees and are protected from the urban heat island effect. That is why our planting programs are targeted in these new areas. As these young trees grow, these communities will be able to benefit from the canopy. Our LiDAR data is a really useful tool to guide our planting efforts to achieve this goal going forward.
Our planting program has put 9,000 new trees in the ground this year alone, and the 2021-22 budget committed funding to plant 54,000 new trees by 2024—our largest tree-planting effort since self-government. These new plantings on public land will put us on track to meet our target, together with other reforms highlighted in the Urban Forest Strategy to encourage canopy cover on private land, which I will speak to further in a moment.
In addition to planting new trees ourselves, a priority focus for the government as we work towards our canopy cover target is working in partnership with the Canberra community. As the report shows, much has already been achieved in this space. The government has delivered an innovative street forestry pilot partnership with local residents to identify locations for new planting. We have supported new and established community groups to undertake local planting and maintenance initiatives under the Adopt a Park and Urban Parks and Places community volunteer programs. We have continued the successful annual Tree Week event, which gives Canberrans an opportunity to learn more about trees and to celebrate the benefits that they bring to our city.
We have also been asking Canberrans to nominate locations where they would like to see trees established, with over 3,000 suggestions made to date via our YourSay page. Over half of these suggestions have already been responded to, with the planting of new trees.
All of these community engagement initiatives will make cumulative, long-term contributions towards our canopy cover target. They also inform our approach to even deeper engagement. For example, the street forestry pilot revealed that around 17 per cent of participating residents did not want a street tree planted on their verge. This