Page 4451 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 14 October 2009
which we attempt to consult, and which we have been very open about, we face not the removal of 282 trees a spring; we face the need, the potential, to remove thousands of trees.
I am concerned, I have to say, that there be no confusion between the from-time-to-time, day-to-day removal of dead, dying and dangerous trees for the safety of the community and proposals which the government has potentially to remove tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of trees. It is a project that will require the support of the Assembly and of the community if it is to proceed at all. (Time expired.)
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter?
MS HUNTER: I have a supplementary. What is done with urban street trees once the government cuts them down? How is the wood used?
MR STANHOPE: I do understand, and I think it is part of the issue, particularly in relation to trees at Captain Cook, that two sets of contractors were employed. One contractor fells the trees—a tree feller, an expert in that particular discipline—and a second contract has been issued for the removal of the trees. The contracts do, as I understand it—I do not know the specific detail—invariably require, of course, through the second contract, that the trunks, the tree, be removed. Invariably, as I understand it, the trees are chipped or mulched, and more often than not you see the distribution of that mulch around the city.
The most oft-used method of disposal is mulching. The mulch is used quite consistently—I think you see it everywhere around the city in these drought-ridden times. As an increasing number of trees die, an amount of mulch has been utilised, I think to great effect, to beautify the city, keep weeds down and seek to protect other trees through a capacity to retain moisture and enhance the health of trees that receive the benefit of mulching. Some of that mulch is now used, most particularly, I think, on ACT government schoolyards. TAMS is now, in concert with schools around the ACT, providing mulch to schools. The minister for education could probably expand on this more than I am able, but there has been, just over this last year—I am not dobbing you in, Andrew—a program initiated by TAMS to provide mulch to schools for that same purpose. For the sake of completeness, Ms Hunter, I will provide fuller details of how all of the trees are disposed of. (Time expired.)
MR COE: My question is to the Treasurer, as the minister responsible for competition policy in the ACT, and it relates to the Martin review. Treasurer, will the government block the involvement of businesses in any land acquisition on competition grounds, even if that acquisition has been approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission?
MS GALLAGHER: As I understand it, none of those decisions have been made, Mr Coe.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?