On The Campaign Trail today, the Belco Party to reverse the ban on greyhound racing, the Greens make greens a right for renters and putting a price tag on a million trees.
- Belco Party to reverse greyhound racing ban, establish animal cruelty register
- How much do a million trees cost?
- New Belconnen business hub
Under a new Greens proposal, renters will have the right to grow food in their backyards and on balconies in the same way they have a right to have pets.
They’ve also promised a $1.5 million fund for community gardens, orchards and in-school food education.
The new ‘Food for All’ policy includes the requirement for all new suburbs to put aside space for community gardens and retrofitted space for established suburbs where possible.
An extra $1.5 million will also be spent on a collaboration with Regional Development Australia (ACT region) to create sustainable food processes in the Canberra region. A further $1.5 million will be spent on seeds for local farmers and commercial food producers.
“Just because you are renting your home, doesn’t mean you should be prevented from growing your own food and tending a vegetable garden,” ACT Greens Housing spokesperson Rebecca Vassarotti said.
“Providing people with a default right to plant a veggie patch is another way people can make their rental property a home.
“It also means people can become more self-sufficient and contribute to our local urban agriculture.”
There will also be $500,000 under the scheme to support residents replacing grass lawns with food gardens.
Belco Party to reverse greyhound racing ban, establish animal cruelty register
The Belco Party has come out against animal cruelty, calling for a register to name and shame people convicted of the crime, as well as tougher penalties.
But the party has been criticised by the Greens after they said they would reinstate greyhound racing in the ACT.
The Greens have said that “dog deaths and injuries are inescapable realities of greyhound racing” but Belco Party leader Bill Stefaniak says the industry is dog friendly when strict protections are put in place.
The party would follow a model similar to NSW after then-Premier Mike Baird reversed the state’s ban on greyhound racing in 2016.
Mr Stefaniak said the animals enjoy racing and are well looked after by their trainers who form an emotional attachment to them, but that the party would “come down like a tonne of bricks” on anyone found guilty of animal cruelty.
This includes putting offenders on a public register.
“Convicted paedophiles are placed on a register and I think it would be a good deterrent and a sensible move to have a similar register for persons convicted of the more serious offences of cruelty to animals,” Mr Stefaniak said.
“The Belco party loves animals. ‘Belco Bailey’ – my spoodle – is a valued member of our campaign team. So is ‘Blinky Belco ‘ a young female Koala we have adopted on the World Wildlife program.”
Belco Party candidate Alan Tutt is the president of the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club.
ACT Greens animal welfare spokesperson and candidate from Ginninderra Jo Clay said the ban on greyhound racing should continue in the ACT.
“Mere days out from the election, the Belco Party have finally confirmed what we all suspected, what they really want is to bring back the cruel and exploitative dog racing industry to the ACT,” Ms Clay said.
“You can’t be serious about addressing animal cruelty and at the same time, back greyhound racing.
How much do a million trees cost?
The cost of a tree has been put at $24 according to the ACT Treasury which cost the Canberra Liberals’ one-million-trees policy at almost $8.9 million over the forward estimates, with maintenance costs “absorbed in existing budgets”, including Transport Canberra and City Services.
The Liberals say the policy will significantly offset Canberra’s carbon emissions, with one million trees sequestering 10 million tonnes of carbon monoxide.
New Belconnen business hub
A new innovation and business hub will be established on the westside of the Belconnen Town Centre if the Belco Party manages to gain a seat in the Assembly, candidate Chic Henry said.
The special precinct would provide benefits for new startups, including tax breaks, to small businesses that innovate in areas such as health, education, manufacturing, recycling, renewable energy and urban agriculture.
Rooftop gardens, solar energy and storage and electric vehicles would all be encouraged, Mr Henry said.
“If elected, I am looking forward to collaborating with entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders who will come from all over the Canberra region to work in this precinct,” he said.