4 February 2019

Premier should mandate 40% tree canopy for Sydney by 2030

Premier Berejiklian’s creation of a Minister for Public Spaces is tacit acknowledgement that these areas have been mismanaged for the past eight years as a result of policies pursued by the Coalition government.

“Eight years of pro-developer Coalition rule has seen a significant loss and degradation of urban bushland, alienation of parkland and destruction of trees in the Sydney region,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“The appointment of a minister to have a voice on the future of state-owned urban land and new parks is long overdue.

“However, without strong legislative protections a change in administrative arrangements will not protect these resources from rapacious developers or the government’s brutal infrastructure program.

“To do that, we need to reform the planning laws to give urban bushland and mature trees the protection they need.”

The Nature Conservation Council calls on the major parties and all candidates to: 

  1. Legislate to protect green spaces and fully fund their upkeep. We need new laws and funds to protect and expand our existing green spaces, including implementation of the Sydney Green Grid, and assure their permanent protection.
  1. Legislate to maintain urban trees and close loopholes that allow tree clearing. Review laws and policies that allow tree clearing for development and infrastructure and remove provisions that allow unchecked tree clearing (such as the Exempt and Complying Development Code and 10/50 Bushfire Code). Mandate robust, uniform tree-preservation rules for local councils and invest in enhancing green spaces and growing Sydney’s urban tree canopy by 40% by 2030. 
  1. Implement and fund policies to ensure that by 2030 every household is within walking distance of green space (preferably bushland). These policies must ensure children have access to green space to maximise the health benefits of nature.
  1. Establish a three-year, $450-million healthy and resilient communities fund. Allocate new funds for councils to protect and manage green space, urban bushland and tree canopy and adopt other nature-based solutions to build healthy and resilient communities.

SOURCE: A Cleaner Greener NSW: Policies for the 2019 NSW Election and Beyond

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