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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3740 ..

(b) continue to mow suburbs and areas of open space every four weeks, and arterial roads every five weeks during mowing season;

(c) continually update and modify standard operating procedures to minimise grass clippings from entering stormwater drains and waterways; and

(d) investigate how to respond to urban maintenance issues that arise as a result of increased climate variability through considering:

(i) mapping native grasses and ‘no mow’ areas, alongside education and training about grassland biodiversity and management;

(ii) continuing to provide resourcing to ensure greater resilience to the impacts of the changing climate;

(iii) improving mower hygiene to reduce weed spread; and

(iv) options for reducing the need to mow by revegetating areas in accordance with the ACT’s Living Infrastructure Plan.”.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (4.11): I rise today as the Greens spokesperson for better suburbs. I would like to start by thanking city services staff for tackling what is basically an insurmountable task of keeping up with rampant grass growth this year. This includes the logistics, communication and organisational work that goes on behind the scenes, as well as those who are actually on the mowers.

I also want to thank people for contacting their local members and Fix My Street, highlighting safety concerns and alerting people about urgent areas. It is a wonderful testament to how engaged Canberrans are with their local government and how they are willing and able to reach out when they see problems in their local neighbourhood.

Like many others here, I am sure, my inbox has become filled with correspondence regarding the state of the grass in the ACT. I take comfort from the fact that, no matter how bad it gets for my inbox, Minister Steel’s is far worse. I would also like to thank Minister Steel and his staff for incorporating into the motion some of my concerns around biodiversity, climate resilience, secure jobs and cooling the city, as these issues relate to the mowing services across Canberra.

As the motion notes, we have had another extraordinary year, because of both the weather and interruptions due to the pandemic. The last registered La Nina event was a decade ago. For my eight-year-old daughters, this is the greenest and lushest they have ever seen the city.

This greenery, so welcome after the traumatic events of the Black Summer bushfires, has come with downsides. People have written to tell me about intersections and roundabouts that have become dangerous due to poor visibility. They have not been able to use local parks and public open spaces due to the length of the grass. This is not a beltway issue. I cross parks every day to walk my children to school and I have to walk through that grass.

I always get concerned when I hear calls for a surge capacity. This is talking about insecure jobs. The level of mowing required during a La Nina year is very different from what is required during a drought year. My interest is in ensuring that city

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