Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3224 ..
very exciting task that we have ahead of us to plant 54,000 trees over the next four years. I am particularly excited about the work that we will do with our community partners and the broader public on how we can all do our bit in supporting living infrastructure across our city.
There is more policy and legislative work to be done. As a government, we will continue to work to identify the tools that we need to ensure that we mitigate our heat island effect, plant more trees and support green living infrastructure across the city. I look forward to working with my government colleagues on this.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (11.14): I would like to thank Minister Steel and City Services for this report responding to my motion earlier this year. I brought the motion to the Assembly because of my deep concerns that our suburbs were crowding out the trees, making them hotter and more vulnerable to climate change and impacting our local ecosystems. It was not enough to wait for the trees to grow. I wanted certainty and clarity about who is going to do what heavy lifting to get us to that 30 per cent target, starting with the suburbs with the lowest levels of coverage.
I had a lot of questions. For example, how were we going ensure compliance and enforcement to avoid any further tragic losses to our urban forest? What contribution are our communities and volunteers going to make, and how are we going to support them with stable, secure and sufficient funding and easy, accessible and responsive approval processes? Also what contribution are private leaseholders and developers going to make, with what safeguards and incentives? How are we going to efficiently and effectively report on our progress and make adjustments when necessary? And finally, how are we going to ensure tree canopy cover is equitable so that we do not create tree-haves versus tree-have-nots?
There has been considerable, detailed work put in to explain the many different elements of our urban tree management and how this will contribute to Canberra in achieving that 30 per cent canopy goal. Again, I thank Minister Steel and his staff and all the public servants who put their time and expertise into this report. The level of information is very useful.
I also welcome the inclusion of information about guides scheduled to come out of the directorate, such as the microclimate guide, the climate-wise landscape guide and the tree canopy cover equivalence tool and look forward to seeing those in due course. And with the release of draft variation 369, we are starting to see the different elements of protecting trees on public and private land come together.
As flagged in the urban forestry strategy, we will need to ramp up our comprehensive protection of mature trees. This needs to be done through genuine barriers and deterrents to removal, as well as through effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement. I hope this legislation truly recognises the value that trees provide. A sapling is a poor substitute for a beautiful, mature tree that provides cooling, shade, aesthetic and home to the local wildlife.
I was pleased to note the progress in cultural site assessments and the work to increase awareness and appreciation among TCCS staff of the cultural values of trees for local