Today the Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services, Ms Tara Cheyne MLA, tabled the Committee’s report on Nature in Our City.
During the inquiry process, the Committee received 71 submissions, held seven public hearings and heard from 69 witnesses. Evidence was provided by a wide range of individuals, community organisations, experts and government officials. These contributors provided evidence on a wide array of topics and themes but were unified in highlighting the importance of nature for the city and the need to protect and enhance the city’s natural assets.
Ms Cheyne said, ‘The value that ACT residents place on our natural environment and its interaction with our city cannot be understated. The result of this wide-ranging inquiry is a large number of strategic and interconnected recommendations with the aim to enhance, prioritise and maintain nature in our city in a meaningful way.’
The report makes 58 recommendations. Centrally, the report calls on the ACT Government to re-commit to the concept of Canberra as a city in the landscape through the development of a City in a Landscape Strategy and a wide range of supporting policies.
The Committee heard how Canberra’s identity is defined by the natural landscape in which it is located and how nature in our city has extensive health, social and economic benefits for residents. Recommendations reflect contributions to the inquiry, including detailed suggestions and recommendations on how government can better manage the interface between the urban and non-urban environments and how the city’s green and blue infrastructure can be enhanced and expanded to improve amenity within the city’s footprint.
The report discusses how community stewardship is vital for the health of the city’s natural environment and how community groups already play central roles in caring for Canberra’s nature and provides recommendations on how to enhance their impact. The importance of research and knowledge in guiding policy is also addressed in the report and its recommendations, which highlight the need for continuing partnerships between research institutes and government in ensuring that policy is evidence-based and in in-line with world standards.
Management of fauna and flora within the Territory was also addressed in submissions and by witnesses, and the report provides a number of practical recommendations with the aim for continued improvement in this area.
13 February 2020
Committee Chair, Ms Tara Cheyne MLA on (02) 6205 0100
Committee Secretary, Danton Leary, on (02) 6205 0124 or at LACommitteeETCS@parliament.act.gov.au