Australia’s capital cities are the engine rooms of the Australian economy, contributing over one thousand billion dollars of economic activity in 2013-14. The Council of Capital City Lord Mayors welcomes the Federal Government’s recognition that cities matter.
In a speech delivered today the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP outlined the Federal Government’s plan to work with cities on long term and integrated planning; infrastructure planning and funding and greening our cities.
Responding to the Minister’s speech, CCCLM Chair, Katrina Fong Lim (Lord Mayor of Darwin) stated that Capital Cities are well placed to rise to the challenge of developing greener cities – in fact, many of Australia’s capital cities are well advanced in their long term plans and local investment into greening our cities. Cities have long recognised that increasing green space is a practical solution to the effects of climate change and associated increasing extreme weather events.
Examples of programs for the greening of our capital cities include:
- Adelaide City Council has commenced work recently on a $1M greening program, finding ways to introduce trees into difficult urban spaces.
- Brisbane City Council is committed to a number of activities which green the city, including projects such as its Bushland cover and 2 Million Trees projects
- As an inland city that already experiences heatwaves and extreme heat days, the ACT Government recognises the risks of increasing ‘city heat’. Canopy trees are valuable public assets that enhance our city’s amenity and liveability, biodiversity and economic viability.
- Canberra’s urban forest is aging, so a major renewal program is planned for coming years to keep and extend these multiple benefits.
- The ACT Government is developing strategies on both Climate Change Adaptation and Living (Green) infrastructure to address the impacts of climate change.
- The City of Darwin is a tropical city with good canopy cover of 19% in the CBD and 30% across the municipality. (This represents 657 hectares of green space.)
- Results from the CBD tree canopy survey estimate the structural value of the 1,150 CBD trees to be over $2M. Shade provided by these trees is believed to create energy savings to the adjacent buildings and deliver gross carbon sequestration of 20 tonnes CO2 equivalent.
- The major thematic schemes of our City Centre Master Plan2 include linking the green and blue (sea) networks and cooling the city (including increasing pedestrian comfort through street tree planting).
- The City Centre Master Plan includes shady and extensive landscaped areas as a major component of the urban environment with new parks and reserves.
- Hobart City Council is currently collaborating with the State Government in developing a Sustainable Buildings Program for Hobart’s commercial building sector that is proposed to include Environment Upgrade Agreements
- Hobart City Council maintains and protects 60% of the city area as native bushland or formal parklands, a significant proportion of which is within walking distance of the CBD
The City of Melbourne is delivering against its Urban Forest strategy, which aims to:
- increase canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040
- increasing forest diversity of species
- improve vegetation health, soil moisture and biodiversity
Recognising the importance of greening cities, the City of Perth is currently preparing its Urban Forest plan 4 which will provide a strategic management framework aimed at protecting the existing urban forest and managing and growing it into the future.
The City has developed a draft Environment Strategy and implementation Plan due to go to Council for adoption shortly, actions proposed include the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan, addressing change risks and vulnerability and a Green Infrastructure study to gain an understanding of what already exists in the city and potential to increase green infrastructure.
City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 recognises the importance of greening the city. Sustainable Sydney 2030 includes action plans that include activities such as:
- Urban ecology – protecting biodiversity including enhancement of local habitat, stormwater harvesting and installation of native bees in the six of the city’s community gardens; funding various research projects into the city’s flora and fauna
- Greening the City – includes actions to increase the urban canopy including planting trees, working with property owners to increase their urban canopy by introducing green walls and roofs, landscaping of the 28,000 square metres of public space, working with relevant public transport and utility authorities to increase greenery in partnership.
- Green roofs and walls policy Green roofs and walls provide numerous social, environmental and cultural benefits and contribute to making the City of Sydney a more climate change resilient, liveable and beautiful city.
Capital cities look forward to the Federal Government’s support to increase their capacity in delivering benefits to the environment, and the communities that live and work in, and visit our Cities.