Greens call for more trees in the Bush Capital

Dominic Giannini 10 March 2020 41
The Greens want more greenery in Canberra

The Greens want to see more trees across Canberran parks and streets to help tackle climate change. Photo: File.

The ACT Greens wants to see more bush in the Capital, urging the ACT Government to plant thousands of extra trees in Canberra to help mitigate the threat of climate change.

ACT Greens’ Planning Spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur referenced a seven-year-old report that said 40,000 more trees were needed to fill the gap and replace dying trees, a number that is expected to be much higher in 2020.

“At a time of climate emergency, the decisions we make today will have huge ramifications for the Canberra of the future,” she said.

“If we want to maintain a liveable Canberra, then we need many thousands more trees planted now – this is not a ‘wait and see’ scenario.”

The ACT Government has recently funded 17,000 new trees in streets and parks across Canberra over the next four years, but the Greens say more urgent action is needed during a time of a climate emergency.

“While the Greens welcome the Government’s planting efforts to date, we need many thousand more trees planted if the Government is to deliver for the ‘Bush Capital’,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Canberra’s Living Infrastructure Plan – launched in November 2019 by Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury – saw the ACT Government commit to providing a 30 per cent tree canopy cover target by 2045.

However, recent figures have pointed to a decline of 3,000 trees in parks and suburbs every year.

“We are seeing older suburbs lose their tree canopies as bigger houses replace modest older homes on bigger blocks. Elsewhere, newer suburbs are being built without room for deep-rooted shade trees,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“Unfortunately, this problem is not limited to residential areas. Local shopping centres with few established trees, like those at Mawson shops, can also reach extreme temperatures in summer.”

ACT Greens Planning Spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur

ACT Greens Planning Spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur says stronger legislation is needed to protect Canberra’s foliage. Photo: Supplied.

To protect against the removal of more trees, Ms Le Couteur wants stronger laws in the ACT to increase the Government’s action on climate change.

“The challenge is complex – we need stronger tree protection legislation to better protect existing trees, and we also need to make room for trees during redevelopment,” she said.

“I called for a review of the legislation in 2017. Unfortunately, that review is only underway now. Now that we have a 30 per cent tree canopy cover target, we need to see this included in the legislation to make sure it happens.”

One the same day the Greens pushed for more foliage, the ACT Government announced that it would be putting on two additional water trucks and increasing the frequency at which trees were being watered.

Minister for City Services Chris Steel said it was important that the newly planted trees be given the best opportunity to survive after the recent drought.

“With the Government planting an additional 17,000 trees, we need to make sure that these survive during their first five years of being planted,” he said.

“Despite good rainfall this month, the ground is often so dry the rain runs straight off the surface and a lot of the moisture never makes it down to the tree roots.”

The Government’s tree watering contractors – who have been active all summer watering 22,000 trees under five years old – will now water trees every four weeks, as opposed to six, until the end of Autumn.

Minister Steel also reiterated the role Canberrans can play to help keep trees healthy after the drought, encouraging residents to trap water and look out for trees that need extra assistance.

“We are encouraging Canberrans to water any struggling street trees nearby by pouring on a bucket of tank water, or greywater from the shower,” Minister Steel said.

Those who park illegally under trees on public land will also be targeted, Minister Steel said.

“Parking under trees can damage the root system, compacting the earth and reducing the tree’s ability to take water and nutrients from the soil,” he said.

Members of the community with suggestions on which trees could benefit from being on the extra watering program can visit Fix My Street with the location of a tree requiring extra attention.


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41 Responses to Greens call for more trees in the Bush Capital
Jaanos Eesti Jaanos Eesti 5:01 pm 12 Mar 20

As long as they aren't fire trees (aka eucalyptus trees).... then 👌

Tjilpi1 Tjilpi1 9:58 pm 10 Mar 20

Then why are the ACT Greens supporting the destruction of 200 trees to make way for the West Basin waterfront development?

Acton Acton 7:02 am 10 Mar 20

For a few days this month by the lake in Yarralumla machinery has been noisily tearing down, ripping out and bulldozing mature trees in the reserve. These trees formed a canopy. These trees were the home and shelter for birds, roos and echidnas. These trees show the lies and hypocrisy of the Greens.

    Maya123 Maya123 12:11 am 11 Mar 20

    How do you know a member of the Greens was driving the bulldozer? Did you ask?

    Acton Acton 5:25 pm 12 Mar 20

    Are you aware that the Greens form part of the ACT Govt with Labor and are supposed to be an environmental party, elected by Canberrans to protect Canberra’s environment, which includes the tree canopy. But deluded Greens supporters cannot see this hypocrisy.

Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 5:42 am 10 Mar 20

But you just removed a whole heap! Hypocrites !

bj_ACT bj_ACT 11:46 pm 09 Mar 20

The Greens keep wanting smaller houses on blocks so there’s more room for trees. Agree with this, it’s a good idea.

However, they’ve supported a tax change that is counter to their goal. Stamp Duty used to tax the big house on the block higher than the small house. The new Rates based model, ignores the house you build and instead taxes the raw land at its square meter value.

This incentivises building big houses on the block with little room for trees.

The Greens need to incentivise trees, not send mixed messages.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:25 am 11 Mar 20

    Trees don’t have to be located on people’s properties though and it’s actually far more efficient to have more dense dwellings with the trees located in larger, shared open spaces.

    And you’re still wrong with you comments about the rating model, the value of the houses on the land implicitly affects rates because it affects the sales prices for the area, which then impacts the value of the land.

    It’s far more economically efficient to encourage people to make the most productive use of their land.

    By using an improved land valuation as you’ve promoted previously, you encourage people to let their houses become run down and landlords to create virtual slums. The exact opposite of what any government should want to do.

Spiral Spiral 9:36 pm 09 Mar 20

When I moved to Canberra I loved the small unused patches of undeveloped land scattered inside many suburbs.

At first glance they looked like wasted space, occupied by a few remnant trees or younger ones that had just grown in random places surrounded by bushes.

But with a bit of patience you could see much wildlife there.

Sure, sometimes it was feral cats, rabbits or foxes, but often it was native lizards birds, kangaroos etc.

Sadly over the last couple of decades, under the guidance of governments focused on developments, many of these places have disappeared.

Helen Weldon Helen Weldon 9:10 pm 09 Mar 20

17,000 is a start but we need so many more

Wayne Lutter Wayne Lutter 8:33 pm 09 Mar 20

Planting trees is good but not Gums they are widow makers

Jim Jim Jim Jim 8:23 pm 09 Mar 20

Good work. Action over rhetoric.

Daniel Howell Daniel Howell 8:21 pm 09 Mar 20

What about all the nice trees that were on northborne ave

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:49 pm 09 Mar 20

    Daniel Howell the ones replaced 3 for every 2?

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 10:28 pm 09 Mar 20

    Daniel Howell

    The nice trees that were dying

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:32 am 10 Mar 20

    Stephen Page-Murray some where/are dying which was expected and catered for by ordering extra trees. The vast majority are growing fine.

Paul Irving Paul Irving 7:59 pm 09 Mar 20

There are large areas with low utility trees. Why not encourage community groups to plant and manage fruit producing trees.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:54 pm 09 Mar 20

Tree management in this town is a bit like taxation policy and practice at the national level.

The big end of town largely gets what it wants because it can afford smart lawyers and lobbyists and also because (at least some of the) politicians who like to talk tough in public tend to have an eye on job prospects post-politics. So when the scrounge is on for revenue, it’s more likely to be the punters – small business and individuals – who will be squeezed.

In the same way, we get these regular lamentations about tree loss in Canberra, and yet the ACT Government continues with planning policies and practices which contribute to that by maximising revenue for government and developers, and then tries to compensate for it by making life a misery for individual householders who want to do something about problem trees on their blocks.

Peter Major Peter Major 6:54 pm 09 Mar 20

And in the NEXT bush fire more to burn. short memories 2003

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 7:32 pm 09 Mar 20

    I'm with Peter! Let's get rid of all the trees! It's them or us!

    Peter Major Peter Major 8:25 pm 09 Mar 20

    Rob Thomas not quite that bad 🤣🤣. Type and species is critical as is placement.

    Margie Dorman Margie Dorman 10:43 pm 09 Mar 20

    Peter Major doesn’t have to be gums. They burn and fall over more than any other tree. Deciduous are best

Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 6:32 pm 09 Mar 20

Where ? .. Northbourne Avenue ? ..

Rauny Worm Rauny Worm 6:07 pm 09 Mar 20

It is what and how you plant ..the gov will need to review their ways and get some expert advice

Brian Ashcroft Brian Ashcroft 5:52 pm 09 Mar 20

All good but the appropriate maintenance never follows, formative pruning to give shape and structure, annual fertiliser, and supplementary water during times of drought- similarly our suburban parks are leftbyibrot on the vine- should be fertilisedcevery spring and aerated annually with overseeing to maintain grass cover every 3 years

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:47 pm 09 Mar 20

    Brian Ashcroft back in the real world do you think that is practicable?

    Brian Ashcroft Brian Ashcroft 7:59 pm 10 Mar 20

    if we can 'waste' money on heritage and arts-yes-and it used to happen until self government came along-it really depends on where you want to spend the money-not a lot of logic in creating something (trees-nice landscape) with the intention of letting it slowly die

Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 3:20 pm 09 Mar 20

aren't the greens in govt?

    Rauny Worm Rauny Worm 6:08 pm 09 Mar 20

    Hamish Sinclair ..if only

    David Malcolm David Malcolm 9:06 pm 09 Mar 20

    Hamish Sinclair yes, they are effectively in a coalition with labor.

    Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 9:27 pm 09 Mar 20

    David Malcolm so they're basically blaming themselves

    David Malcolm David Malcolm 9:39 pm 09 Mar 20

    That’s not a bad way to put it. In this case they have a point though. Canberra does need more trees in the recently developed areas.

David Simon David Simon 3:01 pm 09 Mar 20

Yes please!!

Jon Billows Jon Billows 2:39 pm 09 Mar 20

how about some non-native trees that wont burn so easily...

John Dawe John Dawe 2:25 pm 09 Mar 20

Deciduous I hope..

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