Page 3342 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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identified lowland woodland priority areas retaining their status as tree management precincts past the interim period.

One of the major problems when it comes to biodiversity protection in the long term is that there are few large areas of ecological integrity that are not fragmented. Obviously, protecting trees on an individual basis is not going to solve that problem, but protecting trees that contribute to the buffer zones of other nature reserves and areas of identified wildlife and biodiversity corridors will help. Some woodland birds—in fact, two-thirds of Canberra’s birds—use urban gardens, although most of the endangered and vulnerable species are now, unfortunately, almost totally confined to large areas of remnant woodland.

Varied sittellas have been seen in roadside trees; painted honeyeaters, which are vulnerable, and regent honeyeaters, which are endangered, have been sighted in treed gardens; and swift parrots, another vulnerable species, visit urban areas with remnant woodlands. Some of our threatened bird species, such as brown treecreepers and hooded robins, are especially affected by fragmentation and anything that we, as residents and policy makers of the bush capital, can do to further protect habitat for Canberra’s native birds on leased and unleased urban land should be done.

It is vitally important to restore indigenous woodlands and expand the habitat for native fauna and flora in strategic places. Extending the tree management precincts to provide at least tree cover links and corridors with priority areas in the ACT lowland woodland conservation strategy would give some ecological integrity and contribute to making those linkages viable. This is recognised as vital by ecologists, who are concerned that with climate change it is absolutely essential to have belts that allow the migration of species as it becomes unliveable for them and they have to move. I am concerned that this legislation does not protect young trees and seedlings, the significant trees of the future. Also, it does not protect regeneration, which is important to allow the development of these native vegetation corridors to ensure the survival of vulnerable species under climate change.

This legislation will be strengthened by an accompanying education campaign. Mrs Dunne’s concerns would be answered if Mr and Mrs Waramanga, Ms Waramanga or even Dr Waramanga were given advice as to the kinds of trees that would be helped so that they do not see this legislation as a mere imposition and a curtailment of their liberties, that they can actually see that they are playing a part in protecting biodiversity and ameliorating the impacts of climate change. Residents would probably like to know how to recognise a significant tree, how to recognise various tree species, the value of protecting endemic trees of various sizes and ages, how to use trees to attract native fauna into their gardens and how to look after these trees.

I look forward to the minister’s closing comments to hear how he plans to take this regime forward and to integrate public participation and consultation into the formation of the criteria by drawing on the body of expertise within Canberra’s community, which is very large, understanding that it is a community that on the whole cares about trees, thus integrating an ecological understanding and commitment into Canberra’s planning and urban management regimes. I will be presenting a number of amendments to this bill and I will speak to those as they are presented.

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