Sustainability Commissioner’s blueprint for Canberra’s treed landscape

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ACT Sustainability and Environment Commissioner, Dr Maxine Cooper, recently laid out her blueprint for the future management of Canberra’s treed landscape.

Speaking at an event at ANU celebrating the International Year of Forests, she highlighted the key findings and recommendations from her investigations of ACT Government tree management practices and renewal of Canberra’s urban forest.

Her key finding was that Canberrans value highly and have strong feelings about our city’s treed landscape. This comes as no surprise to climatexchange, as one of our most popular forums is on this issue.

She highlighted the vastness of our green infrastructure – Canberra has roughly 1.6 urban street and park trees per resident compared with Brisbane City Council’s 0.5 per resident, and this doesn’t even count the trees managed by the National Capital Authority. This green infrastructure is a great asset that can play an important role in improving urban liveability and sustainability, but it is also a great management challenge.

The Commissioner made a range of recommendations including on:

  • Replacing the ACT Government’s proposed Urban Forest Renewal Program (which would have seen many trees removed) with a focus on tree care and maintenance;
  • Strengthening recognition of the treed landscape as green infrastructure in the Government’s strategic planning framework;
  • Developing new legislation to protect urban trees (the current Tree Protection Act protects trees in people’s front and back yards but not those on public land such as street verges and urban parks);
  • Establishing an ACT Tree Curator to coordinate urban tree management across the ACT Government and National Capital Authority;
  • Better managing solar access and protection;
  • Strengthening communication and community engagement

Find out more about the Commissioner’s report and have your say on the climatexchange forum on ACT Tree Management.


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