Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3261 ..
up around my electorate, usually with natural scenes and scenes from the local community. There is opportunity there to build in those sun-smart messages.
This is a fantastic motion. I commend Dr Paterson for bringing it to the Assembly, and I am very pleased, on behalf of the government, to indicate support.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (3.26): I thank Dr Paterson for her motion regarding the importance of sun-safety messaging for Canberra children, particularly as we enter the warmer months of the year. Dr Paterson’s motion outlines the risks of not being sun smart when out of the house. Ensuring that Canberra’s kids take the right steps to protect themselves from the sun is a shared effort. Parents, guardians and other caregivers can lead by example through doing the Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide for themselves and helping children to do the same.
As a government, we can also play a role by making our public play spaces as inclusive and safe as they can be. This time last week, I announced the release of the draft ACT Play Spaces Strategy, a document mapping out the ACT government’s plans to continue to improve and invest in playgrounds across our city. The strategy outlines key actions that will shape our government’s ongoing investment in new and existing playgrounds. Action No 6 is particularly relevant to this motion, as it states that it will ensure that places are sustainable and resilient to a change in climate.
As we outline in the strategy, the ACT has a strong community commitment to protecting our city’s open green spaces and enhancing living infrastructure such as our tree canopy. We recognise that the Canberra community wants to see more of our play spaces providing a focus on the environment and nature-based learning through play. We will be seeking feedback from the community about that action, as well as others, in the strategy.
When it comes to prioritising upgrades to Canberra’s 515 play spaces across our city, the strategy recognises that more shade is one of the most common upgrade requests that we receive. It is also true that, as our climate changes, one of the most effective mitigating measures we can take is to improve the overall levels of shade, whether it is through artificial structures like shade sails or by planting trees to increase canopy cover. Many of the newer playgrounds have been established under trees that are already well established and mature.
This focus on shade ensures that playgrounds can be used more during summer and year round. In recent years, we have delivered more shade sails across Canberra, with six play spaces receiving this addition in 2019-20: Greenway, Hughes, Isaacs, Isabella Plains, Macquarie and Monash. A further seven play spaces are in the process of having shade sails installed, in Chisholm, Holt, Phillip, Dunlop, Bonner, Watson and Hackett. These play spaces started having their new shade sails installed in October. We anticipate that all of them will be complete before the end of the year so that people can enjoy those play spaces with shade over the summer period.
As part of the 2021-22 ACT budget, we have committed to planting 54,000 trees across Canberra by 2024. Some of these will be planted on verges and in places that