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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 October 2017) . . Page.. 4362 ..

Thirdly, we need to improve the ACT government’s asset management process for its trees. Many Australian cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, are working on this and the ACT government can learn from their work. Further, in 2011 the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment completed a review of the government’s tree management practices, making extensive recommendations. Many of these are still relevant and should be looked at again. My motion mentions one directly, which is around the possible appointment of a tree curator for the ACT government’s tree assets.

Fourthly, our Tree Protection Act is starting to get old. It commenced back in September 2005. My motion includes a review of this act to ensure that it is consistent with the targets. While there have been regular minor updates, the tree canopy targets are likely to require broader changes.

Finally, my motion includes a sequence of government reports back to the Assembly so that members and the community can track the government’s progress in setting tree canopy targets and then undertaking the wide-ranging work required to implement them.

In conclusion, trees are highly valued by both the human community and the other species we share the ACT with. They have many benefits. Critically, they have an important role in ameliorating the urban heat island effect, which will only become more important as our climate warms. While many suburbs have good tree canopy cover, others do not, and there are others where existing tree canopy cover is being reduced by redevelopment. We need to take action to protect our existing trees and to increase our canopy cover where it is lacking.

The government’s existing commitment to deliver a living infrastructure plan with canopy cover targets is a great first step, but wide-ranging work will need to be done to implement it. This motion sets out a clear action plan to ensure that targets are met and that our canopy cover increases as our climate warms. I urge all members to vote for the trees which are so highly valued by our community.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.01): I thank Ms Le Couteur for bringing this matter before the Assembly today. I think it is fair to say that everyone living in Canberra in 2017 is delighted and proud of the magnificent tree landscape that we have that is one of the features of our great city. Perhaps our beautiful trees have also contributed to Lonely Planet’s selection of our city as the third best in travel for 2018, which has already been the subject of some discussion today.

Ms Le Couteur’s motion notes that Canberra’s urban areas include over 750,000 ACT government trees, and talks about the value we all place on our well-treed streets, the temperature controls they provide and the increases that may come to property values because of the trees that are included.

Our trees add a wonderful procession of seasonal changes in our city. They are spectacular and inspiring. Do not just take my word for it. All you have to do is follow that gorgeous seasonal progression of photos on Instagram: the new spring growth

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