Page 1309 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 5 April 2011

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I also very much support better control of parking under urban trees, because parking, which leads to compaction of the ground underneath, is one of the ways in which we are sometimes, without knowing it, killing our urban trees.

Recommendation 7 talks about getting better guidelines for tree removal, replacement and establishment and that is really important. As I have said, one of the things that the community has been very concerned about is that trees have been removed when they should not be removed and, conversely, trees have been established, and they have been established very well; they have been established and they have just died. That is a waste of money, it is a death of a tree and it is leading to Canberra’s urban landscape not being as beautiful, peaceful and supportive to the community as it could be.

Recommendation 8 talks about looking after trees affected by work done by TAMS and other contractors. It seems like a sensible one.

Recommendation 9 I will spend a minute on. It is a high priority recommendation about strengthening communication and community engagement. As I said in my beginning remarks, community communication is important, is vital, in this program. People in Canberra have demonstrated very clearly that we love our trees. Trees are an important part of Canberra. We call ourselves the bush capital and that is partly because urban Canberra has so many trees. We love them. So whatever the government is going to do with trees in Canberra it needs to have the community involved. It needs to communicate with the community. The commissioner has a bunch of recommendations for urgent and high priority better communication about that, all of which seems fine to me.

Recommendation 10 is a wonderful recommendation because it talks about celebrating our treed landscape. I would like to celebrate it in more ways than just having Assembly debates about it. The commissioner is talking about a 2013 legacy for Canberra which will be a tree legacy, including strategic tree plantings. I think that is a great idea for our centenary and I hope the trees that are planted then will be around for our next centenary.

The last recommendation is a very good one that the commissioner has made and it is to fund the protection and management of Canberra’s street trees and parks, because we all know a report is only as good as the paper it is written on until it is actually funded by the government. As I said earlier, the commissioner is looking at around $4½ million extra a year. I very much hope that the government does in this coming budget commit to this. Otherwise, we will have had a great report which cut down some trees but unfortunately did not lead to the good results for trees that it could lead to.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (11.46): I intend to speak very briefly about this report. Firstly, I would like to put on the record my thanks to Dr Cooper and her team at the commission and to the panel who assisted her in putting together this very comprehensive report. It is a welcome report and it is a very welcome inclusion to the debate about the future of Canberra’s urban trees.

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