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Greens urban forest plan to protect Point Peron

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 25 May 2016

Greens Senator for Scott Ludlam will announce a plan to permanently protect Point Peron when he visits Rockingham on Sunday to announce the Greens candidate for Brand, Dawn Jecks.

As part of the Urban Forest plan announced this week, Point Peron would be given statutory protection and adequate management funding as a Bush Forever site.

“Bush Forever, means forever, not just for now until a developer wants to disfigure it into a marina,” said Mr Ludlam.

The Peel region’s tree canopy will also double across the city by 2040 with every resident living within five minutes of a greenway under plan announced.

Originally covered by about 284,000 hectares of native vegetation, it is estimated 75 per cent of Perth’s original bushland and 80 per cent of our original wetlands have been lost.

The plan details the establishment of an Aboriginal Stewardship committee to preserve and advance cultural knowledge and practice, funding for scientific mapping drawing on the latest biodiversity and climate data and addressing the most significant and urgent threats to our urban bushland from development.

The strategy allocates $7.6million in State funding per year to the Perth Urban Forest Plan, and $29 million in Commonwealth funding as part of our new Green Cities Federal policy.

 “The impact of this uncontrolled clearing is starting to show. Not only are we losing the aesthetic and recreational benefits of living near green space, but our city is getting hotter. There can be as much as 6 degrees difference across Perth’s suburbs, depending on their canopy cover.”

Greens candidate Dawn Jecks said the entire electorate of Brand would benefit from the plan through green corridors, double tree canopy by 2024

 

Fact Box:

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75% of Perth’s original bushland and 80% of our original wetlands have been lost.

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2015 was the hottest year on record. Global Warming is making our city hotter.

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Heatwaves kill more Australians than all other natural disasters (bushfires, cyclones etc) and heat related deaths are expected to double in Perth by 2050.

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Trees can cool a city street by 4-6 degrees celcius, making them a vital asset in the fight against climate change and heat related deaths.

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A university study found that a single tree is worth up to $193,250 in ecosystem services such as air filtration, stormwater management, Co2 reductions and property value increases.

 

The Brand electorate Urban Forest Plan will:

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Establish a world class Urban Forest Taskforce that helps to plan, measure and maintain Perth’s Urban Forest involving Aboriginal elders, botanists, ecologists and policy makers to establish strategies for bushland preservation, revegetation and ongoing natural resource management. The taskforce will support the development of state and local council Urban Forest Plans. ($200,000 p/a)

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The taskforce will use the i-tree tool[1] or equivalent to measure and document the monetary, health and services value of our urban forest and green infrastructure. New York successfully used the i-tree tool to evaluate that for every dollar spent on trees the city receives a return of $5.60. ($200,000 p/a)

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An interactive website, mapping tool will be developed. ($100,000 p/a)

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Give statutory protection to Bush Forever sites that was promised by the government in 2000 as well as increasing funding for adequate management of these sites ($800,000 p/a)

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Introduce an Acquisition Fund to purchase natural areas of high conservation value in urban areas. The Metropolitan Region Improvement Tax (1959) could be used to generate the revenue for this. ($20m) 

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Strengthen ‘Parks & Recreation’ zoning so that they can’t be reneged on when development is proposed to proceed. Currently, that zoning offers no protection.

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Work with developers on the importance of biodiversity and urban forest protection and develop an Industry Code that ensures they will not develop on Bush Forever sites.

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Introduce a federal moratorium on clearing of urban bushland until the Strategic Assessment is completed and implemented. ($200,000)

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Add an Urban National Park category to our National Reserve System, affording it maximum protection and status possible in Australian law.

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schedule will be driven by the Urban Forest research program committee with strong collaboration with local governments. ($1.5m p/a)

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Provide legal protection and formal recognition of ecological linkages in our planning system including creating a new Greenways Zone in the MRS that has permanent, statutory protection and funding the recommendations made by the Auditor General in his 2009 Report Rich and Rare: Conservation of Threatened Species.

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Plan, fund and deliver high quality walking and bike trails that are integrated into this Greenway network, connecting and providing easy access to our most precious parks, bushland and waterways across the metropolitan area. (This is already funded in Greens’ BikeVision Plan)

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Introduce a special funding component for coastal and river zones to protect and restore sand dunes and coastal shrub lands. ($600,000 p/a)

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Conduct ongoing maintenance – including tree audits every three years to measure canopy cover and tree health (1m p/a)

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Repeat tree audits every 3 years to measure ongoing canopy cover and tree health.

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Invest in new street plantings to link the greenways together and increase biodiversity in every suburb. ($700,000 p/a)

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Along with new plantings, mandating biodiversity (not more than 40% for a family, 30% for a genus, and 10% for a species) and ongoing maintenance of the health of city trees is an important part of ensuring this increase in canopy cover is achieved.

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Educate and empower private landowners to plant and care for suitable trees and native plants on their property. (The private realm consists of approximately 70% of the Perth metropolitan area and can therefore contribute significantly to the urban forest.)

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Introduce a green roof and walls scheme. Using the Growing Green Guide for Melbourne as a guide, our aim is for one in ten existing and new buildings to have a green roof, wall or façade installed by 2029.  A similar policy has been introduced in France where, if passed into law, all new commercial buildings will be required to have a green roof or rooftop solar panels installed. ($1.2m p/a)

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Introduce a city-wide strategy to replace hard surfaces like bitumen and concrete with porous surfaces such as porous asphalt, turf, garden beds and rain gardens to reduce heat retention, reduce runoff, encourage soil moisture retention and ultimately improve the health of our urban forest. This has been done in Germany with great success.[3]

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Include, as part of the Urban Forest research program, a citizen volunteer arm and secondary education program to help with on-the-ground tree audits every 2 years, to ensure the health of the urban forest is maintained (as well as assisting in measuring canopy cover, diversity and distribution). This strategy has been successfully implemented in New York City.

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Introduce a Community Grants scheme to enable Local Council to work with communities when making decisions about the Urban Forest and Green Infrastructure in their area. This includes funding for deliberative democracy workshops and neighbourhood scale projects such as walking paths, amphitheatres and Aboriginal interpretive centres. ($1.5m p/a)

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Introduce a household funding package to subsidize biodiversity plantings in front verges and backyards to link in to the local greenway  (made available to local Landcare groups, local councils and native nurseries). ($5m p/a)

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Engage local Aboriginal elders in the Urban Forest research program - responsible for the planning and mapping of the Urban Forest Plan.  ($800,000 p/a)

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Engage local Aboriginal elders and businesses to develop the Cultural Trails identified in the Urban Forest Plan and to deliver cultural, educational and eco-tourism programs along these Trails including:

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 Interpretive signage and artworks installed at key sites explaining the significance of the sites to Noongar culture (such as those installed on the Whatdjuk Trail Network in the western Suburbs of Perth)[4];

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Aboriginal ‘tour guides’ located strategically throughout the city to provide cultural and ecological interpretation and personalized experiences;

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A program of public performances of traditional songs, dances and storytelling;

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Opportunities for the Aboriginal community to engage in private ceremonies at culturally significant times of the year.

($800,000 p/a)

 

 

 

 

[1] i-tree is an online data-mapping tool that quantifies forest structure and the environmental services that trees provide that has been adopted by cities and local councils across the globe including London, Chicago and the City of Melbourne.

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