Page 2804 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 29 June 2010

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Mature trees from over 300 different species fill Canberra. They significantly contribute to the aesthetics, and have direct economic value and environmental benefits.

Hear, hear! We agree with that. We agree with that indeed.

The Australian National University has calculated this value at more than $15 million annually—

So there is actually an economic benefit.

Mr Coe: So you can put a price on it.

MR SESELJA: We can actually put a price on it. But of course there are other aspects of it that are priceless. The economists can always find a way to put a price on these things, and they have. They have put a price on it. It states:

The ANU has calculated this value at more than $15 million annually, including $3.9 million annually in energy reduction, that is cooling and heating; $7.9 million annually for pollution mitigation; and $3.5 million annually for stormwater mitigation.

Those are just the tangibles.

Mr Smyth: What about the intangibles?

MR SESELJA: What about the intangibles of sitting under a tree?

Mr Smyth: Personal amenity.

Mr Coe: It means you are a free man.

MR SESELJA: Indeed. There are the intangibles which we could dwell on but we will not, except to say that Canberrans do value it and they do put a value far beyond the economic that the economists may be able to assign to it. So we have got this recognition of the importance of it. It goes on to say:

Trees have also contributed to the reduction in Canberra’s wind speeds by up to 50% from the once open and windy plains and provide a buffer for extreme temperatures.

So, again, that is amenity, which you cannot put a price on. This government wants to slash $11 million out of this program. It goes on:

Climate change and associated drought is having on-going ill-effects on the health of Canberra’s trees. Mature trees are dying faster than expected and younger trees take longer and cost more to establish. Over the next 25 years substantial numbers of trees will need to be replaced. There is a pressing need to commence replacement of Canberra’s urban forest. As urban growth continues the principles behind the urban forest must be redefined to ensure the landscape

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