Page 3600 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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the people of the ACT. Those are the facts. From this day the people of the ACT will know and acknowledge that the Liberal Party in the ACT does not support the protection of significant trees or trees at all within the Australian Capital Territory.

Having said that, I do extend my appreciation to the representatives of the development community who had had a key role throughout the development of the bill, in particular the developers, the architects, the arboriculturalists, the landscape architects and the builders who assisted at the early stages when the framework to the bill was devised. I would also like to mention the hard work of Environment ACT staff and acknowledge the extensive processes that they have taken to consult so broadly with the stakeholders and through approaches taken in drafting the bill.

The bill represents a turning point in the management of our urban environment. It recognises the importance of Canberra’s urban forest to the liveability and sustainability of Canberra. Walter Burley Griffin’s vision saw the creation of a garden city. He understood the importance of trees and the role they would play in the realisation of the vision. This legislation respects the Walter Burley Griffin vision and the role that Canberra householders have played through the planting of trees in their gardens. Since then we have learnt a lot more about the importance of trees in our cities. We now know that they are essential to live in a sustainable manner.

The healthy urban forest that covers the established parts of Canberra provides us with a multitude of benefits. For example, since 1915 Canberra’s urban forest has been responsible for a 15 per cent reduction in wind speed in the Canberra area. It reduces the need for heating in winter, thus reducing our energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. Shade provided by trees helps reduce the retention of heat in paving and reduces the need for air-conditioning, also reducing our greenhouse impact.

Research has found that a lower wind speed and the ability of leaves to collect particulate matter reduce respiratory illnesses. The trees in our city also help us with our water strategy by lowering wind speeds and shading, thereby reducing evaporation from gardens and helping to maintain our water quality by intercepting stormwater flows. The urban forest also provides habitat for wildlife that live in or around our city. This legislation is a valuable tool in the management of our trees and demonstrates this government’s commitment to ensuring that future Canberrans enjoy the environmental, economic and social benefits provided by our urban forest.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge a range of individuals within the ACT public service who, over an extended period, have worked on this legislation. It has been a very, very significant task, a major piece of legislation. It is a credit to each of the officers that have been involved in its negotiation, its development and indeed in its passage. At the risk always, of course, of excluding some that were also involved in an instrumental way, I wish to acknowledge the contribution to the development of this legislation of Chris Golding, Bill Logan, Joka Stekovic, Paul Coleman, Gary Croston, David Jongeneel, Dick Johnston, Ray Brady, Terrance Raath and Odile Arman of Environment ACT; Mary Toohey of the parliamentary counsel’s office; and a number of officers within ACTPLA, most particularly Mr Paul Lees. I acknowledge the fantastic contribution of all those officers. This legislation is a credit to them.

Title agreed to.

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