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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3568 ..

This year’s budget also invests an additional $45.7 million in active travel over the forward estimates. This grows our total pipeline of active travel projects to $77 million. This will see us deliver a number of our election commitments, including commencing construction of the Sulwood Drive shared path and starting feasibility work on the garden city cycle route through the inner north. We have also funded the expansion of the successful age-friendly suburbs program to Reid, Scullin, Chifley and O’Connor, delivering path upgrades and other accessibility upgrades for people with reduced mobility. That benefits the whole community.

Path maintenance is also a key priority to deliver better and safer opportunities for the walking and cycling that we have seen so much of during the pandemic. This year’s budget delivers a $4 million boost for shared path and community path maintenance over the next four years. This builds on the work that has been done this year to audit the state of every footpath in Canberra by our great Jobs for Canberrans initiative, which has created local employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget continues our strong track record of investment in public transport infrastructure. We have outlined our vision for Canberra’s future through the ACT planning strategy and the ACT transport strategy, and now we are getting on with the job of delivering it.

Not only does this budget provide more money for light rail to Woden; it also continues to work to improve Canberra’s bus network. We are building the Woden depot and procuring new low- and zero-emissions buses. We are also expanding bus services to the new suburb of Whitlam because we recognise the importance of making public transport available in new suburbs as early as possible.

We are committed to leading the way in taking real action on climate change. Our investment through this year’s budget in planting 54,000 new trees by 2024 is a great example of that. Canberra’s trees are one of the many things that will help make this city such a great place to live. In the years ahead, they will also help to mitigate the urban heat island effect and make our city more resilient as the climate changes.

Using up-to-date light detection and ranging analysis—LiDAR—data, we can track our planting efforts across the city. We will be focusing on planting these new trees in areas of greater vulnerability, where canopy cover is lower and in areas where existing trees are ageing and dying.

To boost this planting effort, we have also funded the popular “adopt a park” initiative for a further three years, following a successful pilot program for one year. This great program provides support for community groups so that they can get involved in planting trees and micro-forests in their neighbourhoods, particularly in parks and other open spaces. Planting tens of thousands of new trees now is a legacy that will make Canberra a more attractive, liveable and sustainable city for decades to come. This budget really delivers in that respect.

At the local level, we are undertaking a huge program of suburban infrastructure improvements across every region in our city. Canberrans love their local shops,

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