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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 220 ..

Madam Speaker, before I finish I would like to remind the government of another interesting aspect of the 2010 report. On page 25 the authors discuss the appropriate succession and replacement plan for trees in the corridor. I mentioned this earlier. They specifically noted that the entire removal of a group of trees, followed by a replanting with a suitable species, tends to have a drastic effect on the landscape and leads to the same problem occurring again.

If the government is convinced that these trees are dying, a big chop down and replant will only create further problems in the future. Of course, these problems will be magnified because of the light rail infrastructure which would interfere with the root structure. I think that the Eucalyptus elata trees provide an appropriate entry to Canberra on Northbourne Avenue. They should only be removed for a compelling reason. To date, we simply have not seen it. The government are proposing to chop down all the trees so that they can build their ill-conceived light rail project.

Contrary to what this government says, the trees on the Northbourne Avenue median are healthy, according to the 2010 report, and can survive until 2030 or beyond. Light rail will not deliver positive transport benefits for Canberra but will burn a hole in the territory’s wallet for the next 20 years. We should not allow this light rail project to proceed and we should not allow the Eucalyptus elata trees to be chopped down simply because of a deal done between Shane Rattenbury and Simon Corbell.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (6.26): Madam Speaker, I would draw your attention to the fact that Mr Coe continues to ignore your ruling about addressing members by their proper title. Today we have heard the crocodile tears from Mr Coe on trees and the terrible things that happen to trees when they have to be cut down. Where was the motion from Mr Coe when a significant number of mature oak trees had to be removed for the expansion and modernisation of Constitution Avenue? I am referring to the works that are underway right now outside this Legislative Assembly building, which have seen a significant number of mature oak trees removed for the expansion of Constitution Avenue.

Mr Coe interjecting—


MR CORBELL: Where was he? He was silent, Madam Speaker. He was silent.

Mr Rattenbury: That is a road. That is okay.

MR CORBELL: Because that is road; that is right, Mr Rattenbury. It is a road. But, perhaps more importantly, what Mr Coe does not say in his argument is that we know what his position is on public transport priority on Northbourne Avenue. He says that buses can do the job and he says, “Build a busway. Do not build light rail. Build a busway.” He is on the record in this place as saying he would not build a busway by utilising an existing traffic lane on Northbourne Avenue; so he knows that means only one other thing. It means you have got to use the median strip or the verge. Guess what is on the median strip and the verge, Mr Coe.

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