Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1207 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The true measure of Labor's proposal is that it would capture up to something like an additional 200,000 common eucalypts which are in no way threatened. The remnant woodland trees are protected by our definitions, and the 200,000 common eucalypts are growing mainly in Belconnen, Weston Creek and Tuggeranong where there is little or no development pressure.

This amendment would change the criteria for approval to undertake a tree damaging activity. What we would probably do if this amendment is successful is add another criteria, which is that the tree is an inappropriate species in potential size or growth habits for its location or proximity to a building, excluding, of course, the remnant eucalypts. This is important because lots of bluegums and peppermint gums, which are too large for residential areas and should never have been planted, were planted during the 60s, 70s and 80s. They are going to cause dilemmas long term. I think it is appropriate that we keep this at the level already set by the government.

MS TUCKER (5.19): I, of course, will be supporting this amendment. I am very concerned after hearing Mr Smyth's response just then, particularly as he intends to further change this legislation if this amendment gets up, which I understand it will. What he appears to be saying is that because trees are not threatened they therefore could not possibly be seen to be a significant tree by the community.

Now, there are two basic points here. First of all, this is like the ACTCode debate yesterday. This government says it is interested in what the community feels significant trees should look like. This is interim legislation right now to cover trees until a decision is made about what the criteria will be.

Mr Smyth has set a 2.5-metre circumference. That basically means pre-settlement trees. We know. We get phone calls often from people who are very upset about trees that are not that big. Mr Smyth must know that too. Now he is putting out this scare campaign, saying that all these trees are suddenly going to be covered and we are suddenly going to have this really big problem. If there are a lot of applications for cutting trees which will be covered by this amended criteria, Mr Smyth had better put in the resources to deal with them.

Mr Smyth claims he cares about what the community thinks and he claims he has a commitment to trees. The view of the Assembly is obviously different in terms of where he thinks the criteria or the benchmark should be set. If this Assembly says the benchmark should be 1.5 metres as it is for all other trees, then Mr Smyth has a responsibility to ensure that resources are there to deal with that issue.

This government is just getting out of hand. If Mr Smyth is now going to start threatening people in this place with this further action to deal with this big problem, what he is basically saying once again is that he treats this place with absolute contempt. This is for three months. This is so his government can find out what the community thinks. Before he knows what they think he is now putting in criteria which are going to mean that there will be trees going that I know and Mr Corbell knows, and I am sure he must know, the community thinks should be significant.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .