11 June 2019

Government to plant 17,000 more trees over next four years

| Ian Bushnell
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street trees

Canberra’s street trees are vital in limiting the effects of our increasingly warm summers. File photo.

The ACT Government will plant 17,000 more trees across the city over the next four years, with the focus on areas with low canopy cover and where trees are ageing.

The measure announced in the Budget is less than the 7000 trees a year over the next decade the Greens say are needed to maintain and restore the city’s urban forest.

But the Government is calling it the largest program of tree planting this century, saying an Urban Forest Strategy will also be developed within 12 months, which will set out a pathway to meet canopy targets and build the resilience of Canberra’s green canopy.

The Budget papers say the tree planting measure is attached to a program for more bins at local shops, with the total cost amounting to $9 million, with only $338,000 in 2019-20, but increasing to $2 million in 2020-21, $3.1 million in 2021-22 and $3.7 million in 2022-23.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said the Government would also be looking to fill in gaps in the existing tree canopy cover in suburbs which are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“We will also begin a large-scale tree propagation program at the Government’s nursery at Yarralumla and engage and involve the community in this substantial planting program,” he said.

“This is the largest program of tree planting this century, to renew and enhance Canberra’s tree canopy. Trees play a big role in the lives of Canberrans, keeping our streets up to 10 degrees cooler in summer, and help us to adapt to climate change.”

Greens Planning spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur has said street and park trees in the ACT’s established suburbs were declining by around 3000 a year, and that the current tree planting program was not keeping up, with many trees been lost to age, development and the Millenium Drought.

She has also called for planning rules to be changed to allow more space for trees around developments.

The Government manages over 766,000 public trees in streets and urban open spaces.

It will also release its Climate Change Strategy in coming months.

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liberalsocialist7:59 pm 12 Jun 19

Can we get rid of the ridiculous idea that Australian native’s are any good? They take ages to grow, offer sparse canopies, drop branches once grown, have no Autumn magic… they’re ugly. Please stop this notion from the holier-than-thou branch that implies that if anyone says anything bad about our natives then they must not want to live here. Tired of that.

In the meantime – and even this article’s head photo shows it – the nicest streets are those lined with beautiful deciduous trees that grow quickly and have a rich, dark green foliage. But the few righteous people will claim that’s un-Australian to point out.

I just cannot fathom how they will get this done effectively after presiding over mass degradation of the urban forest over there two decades in charge. But if they do, it will mean the general population will need to behave and pretty much adopt their local plantings, rather than compacting the soil through parking their overflow SUVS in the root zone, or just ripping the new trees out due to some wiring fault in the individual’s brain.

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