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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3647 ..


MS GALLAGHER: My question is also addressed to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, my office often receives queries from constituents about trees. Sometimes they want a tree cut down and have been told they cannot, and at other times they do not want a tree to be cut down but find it is going to be cut down anyway. What is the government doing to clarify these issues?

MR WOOD: Quite a deal. In particular, we have put out a discussion paper, which I hope you all have in your hands. As this chamber knows, there has been a lot of discussion about trees over a long period. Canberrans are pretty passionate about their trees-sometimes passionate to have them cut down, and especially passionate when they cannot. So we have got a discussion paper to explore all the issues. I will give one example. Trees are being cut down today in one of the streets in Curtin-Carruthers Street, I think.

Mr Corbell: Why are you cutting trees down in Curtin, Bill?

MR WOOD: Well, there has been a careful process, I can tell you; we don't do these things without a careful process, Mr Corbell. But on all advice they had to come down. They were interfering with the power lines. They had been trimmed so often they were creating a real problem. The neighbourhood was advised, as you would expect, and understood that, but motorists driving past did not understand that. We had quite a ring-in. That is some of the activity behind trees.

It is worth noting that, of the quite large number of applications for a tree-damaging activity, 85 per cent have been approved. Given that level of approval, I think it is pretty sensible to look at the system and to see if we can make it work a little bit better. We have put out this discussion paper. It presents three broad options. They are not exclusive; other options could emerge if the community and others think they should.

The first option is tree protection orders on urban lands, except public lands-much the same scheme with a few minor changes. We could go back to that idea of a tree register or we could maintain a tree register with tree protection orders in selected places where there is most pressure about trees. So I would encourage members to switch on to that debate, because you well know it is going to come back into this chamber before too much longer.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Personal explanations

MS TUCKER: Last night in the adjournment debate, Mr Pratt had an outburst. In that outburst he seriously misrepresented something that I said in the Legislative Assembly during the day in a debate on the motion put by Ms Dundas against war in Iraq. Unfortunately, Mr Pratt did not wait to read the transcript of what I had said and was actually quite disorderly. If I had been down here at the time, Mr Speaker, I would have asked you to stop him making the comments he made.

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