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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3223 ..


tripartisan support for this worthy environment goal. That is why the Canberra Liberals moved an amendment in March to stress the tripartisan support for this target.

Canberrans are concerned about loss of trees because we know how much our trees add to our environment, our wellbeing and quality of life. The tree canopies that we have are under threat, particularly in our older suburbs, and in our newer suburbs, which are barren and grey. The tripartisan effort to achieve at least a 30 per cent urban tree canopy is a worthwhile ambition that will make a positive difference to the place that Canberrans call home.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.10): I rise today to speak in support of the ministerial statement provided on the Urban Forest Strategy implementation plan update. I would like to commend the minister for the significant work that is currently being undertaken to support the ACT’s living infrastructure, and particularly focus on how we nurture and grow our urban forest.

These issues are ones that have been of significant interest to the ACT Greens, and there has been a long history of work from both government and the crossbench. I refer to Caroline Le Couteur’s motion calling for a review of the Tree Protection Act, the Territory Plan and government infrastructure standards, to “make room for trees” in development and to get better protection for trees in 2017. Shane Rattenbury, who was then the Minister for Climate Change, set the 30 per cent tree canopy and permeable surface target for the city of Canberra in 2019. The parliamentary agreement for the 10th Assembly committed the Labor-Greens government to delivering the 30 per cent canopy target and associated actions. Also, this report was in response to my colleague Andrew Braddock’s successful passing of a motion committing the ACT government to provide annual progress reports and updates, to report on the tree canopy in every suburb in Canberra every five years, and support for the community to participate in the achievement of the tree canopy target.

With ministerial responsibility for living infrastructure, I am really pleased to see where we are at, and that we do have a clear plan about how to reach our 30 per cent target. This update provides this plan and shows how we are working towards it.

Key to this is providing a baseline to understand what our current canopy is and what we need to do to focus our effort. The updated light detection and ranging analysis has allowed us to estimate more accurately the current tree canopy coverage and has provided us with a better picture of our living infrastructure in Canberra.

It is also particularly useful that we can see, very accurately, the differences in tree canopy across our city, and which suburbs are more at risk from urban heat island effects and climate change. There will be different challenges. In new suburbs, it is about growing canopy; in some of our older suburbs, it is about ensuring that we are replacing trees, maintaining coverage and getting to the 30 per cent.

The update provides a broad range of strategies that are being deployed to grow and nurture our urban forest. There is still much work to be done, and this includes the


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