Yellow Box Dispatch April 2016

Judith Leland - Gang-gangs


This month saw ongoing tales of Canberra’s ongoing challenge of balancing being the bush capital and a growing city. A West Tuggeranong suburb concept called ‘Thompson’, and development of CSIRO’s Ginninderra field station are being advanced ahead of required processes of investigation and consultation being completed. Read our thoughts below.

Our heritage events are in full swing during the ACT heritage festival in April. It’s your chance to discover so much more about our parks and reserves. We enjoyed the Discover Kama walk this week, and don’t miss out on our Mulligan’s Flat ‘Tell Your Story’ event Saturday 9 April. Read on for details.

It’s time to get your tickets to our event of the year, the World Environment Day Dinner on Saturday 4 June 2016! Support the Conservation Council, enjoy great local food, and mingle with like minded Canberrans. Early bird tickets available now!

Clare Henderson
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT
Adaptation and getting to zero emissions
The Conservation Council provided a submission to the ACT Government’s public consultation on the Draft Climate Change Adaptation strategy.

We commend the ACT Government for tackling the complex challenge of climate change adaptation. Adaptation to the impact of climate change is a cross-cutting issue that requires different sectors, within and outside Government, to understand the threats and integrate adaptation efforts into their planning and operations. We must ensure mitigation efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren’t overtaken by a focus on adaptation, and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems is a critical outcome. Read more here…

Transport and planning: buses, light rail but what of integration?
The Conservation Council welcomed the announcement of a public transport election policy from the Canberra Liberals: Canberra’s Transport Future for all Canberrans. The Council commends some elements of the plan, however, the plan by itself has limited ability to achieve strong environmental outcomes. Read our comments here.

In particular, transport plans need to consider the form of the city. What sort of city do we want and have and how do transport options shape that?

Both the Labor party and Greens committed to the first stage of Light Rail ahead of the 2012 election. The Conservation Council welcomed the current Light Rail project as the first stage of major investment in public transport infrastructure while also helping the city become more compact. At the same time we need increased investment to integrate the system and improve other elements including buses. The Conservation Council has concerns around the political battle being waged over the system, and is focused on the best transport and urban form outcomes which in turn lead to an improved environmental outcome.

The Conservation Council encourages all parties to release transport policy that delivers an integrated system with public transport and active transport options that give Canberra residents the choice to live without a car and allow for the city to reduce its ecological footprint.

Heritage Festival has kicked off: join us at Mulligan’s Flat Woolshed!
The Conservation Council and our member groups are showcasing great natural heritage during Canberra Heritage Festival. We got up with the birds to Discover Kama reserve on Tuesday, a home for many vulnerable species such as the Scarlet Robin. Don’t miss our upcoming events!

Tell Your Story, 9 April 10:00am, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, all ages – Free

A great morning of storytelling and sausage sizzling for all the family in unbeatable surrounds.

Partners: Friends of Mulligans Flat and Capital Woodlands and Wetlands Trust

What’s the drum about gums? Walk & Talk, Saturday 9 April, 9:30am, Black Mountain Nature Reserve – Gold Coin Donation

Discover the intriguing differences between eucalypts and how they survive fire and drought.

Host: Friends of Black Mountain

Drive and Walk – Glenburn Precinct Kowen – Sunday 10 April, 9am

Come and see Glenburn’s several early European relics from a once vibrant, small rural community that is no more. Book on 02 6288 4171 or [email protected].


Talk about the Birds of Black Mountain Tuesday 12 April, 12:30pm, Telstra Tower – Gold Coin Donation

Hear about the birds of the past and the birds of today from lifelong birdwatcher Geoffrey Dabb.

Host: Friends of Black Mountain

Sneak Peek at Kinlyside, 14 April 10:00am, Kinlyside Nature Reserve, ages 8 and up – Free

Don’t miss this rare opportunity as we unlock a unique combination of working farm and conservation area.

Partners: Gold Creek Homestead

Red Hill Heritage Walk, 17 April 10:00am, Red Hill Nature Reserve, ages 8 and up – Free

Joins us as we showcase the natural and cultural history of this urban gem.

Partners: Red Hill Regenerators and Parks and Conservation Service

For more information, or to book a place, call us on 02 6229 3200 or email [email protected].

New suburbs and the need for consultation
The Conservation Council has been chasing information on the proposed new developments for the CSIRO site in Ginninderra. At a briefing this month, it was revealed the area has quite significant indigenous and cultural heritage. Its natural heritage by Commonwealth definition is “insignificant”, but there are significant ecological values in the 113 hectares of Yellow-Box Red Gum Woodland plus golden sun-moth habitat, and a range of threatened species.

Yet even without knowing these values a suburb plan — ie lines on a map — have already been drawn up and the whole area is proposed as “future urban area”. This is unacceptable. This area has not been identified in any ACT Planning documents for urban development and therefore was not part of the landscape view of urban development via the Gungahlin Strategic Assessment, a process designed to ensure a balanced development plan for the north. The Conservation Council will continue to watch the process, and advocate for a full and appropriate planning process.

On the thought-bubble concept of ‘Thompson’, proposed for west of Tuggeranong, we have digested information from the ACT Government and looked at maps they have provided. Still, we have more questions! We have put together a briefing paper – see it online here. It is not appropriate to put an urban development so close to the River Corridor and the proposal doesn’t fit with a “strategic” planning model. We also attended an initial residents meeting this month, and you can visit them on Facebook: “Save the Murrumbidgee River Corridor.”

We will put in a formal submission to the proposal however we are encouraging people to make comment on the ACTPLA have your say website.

Good governance: elusive, but critical for our environment
Does it matter how the ACT is run? We think so. The Conservation Council is preparing policies leading up to the October 2016 ACT election across all our main focus areas: Biodiversity Conservation; Climate Change; Planning; Transport; Waste; Water, and; Governance.

We will make the policies available to all candidates so they can see how their positions line up and we will advocate that they take up our policies in their own campaigns and later in debates and committees in the Assembly or as members of Government. After we finalise the policies over the next few weeks we will publish a single document (about 20 pages) on our website. Many policies reflect positions we have previously taken in submissions to various processes.

We have brought together various issues in ‘Governance’ calling our policy ‘Towards a smarter, sustainable Canberra – governance for sustainability’.

Our context includes that “Australia’s cities and towns of the future must successfully integrate the needs of people, the built and natural environment.”

While ACT Government has improved the sustainability of its operations and decision-making much more is needed. We ask that Government policy should achieve sustainability, with better assessment of policies and projects, sustainable procurement by Government agencies, better reporting on outcomes and independent review.

Community consultation and engagement are key to positive outcomes and we suggest some measures to reach aims identified by the ACT Government in ensuring greater openness in government and engagement and collaboration across sectors. These include better consultation processes and support for the community to participate in consultation, establishing appropriate advisory groups and trialling and implementing ‘deliberative democracy’ approaches across a range of Government actions and decisions.

If you would like an early release of our current draft Governance policy please contact [email protected] and we will send you our two-page document. We would welcome comments and will be interested to see how much interest there is in our work in this area.

Mulligan’s Flat storytelling: Saturday 9 April
Become part of your local history and share your stories about the beautiful Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. Join a professional storyteller and an oral historian for a great morning of storytelling and sausage sizzling in unbeatable surrounds. Inspirational fun for kids and adults alike.

When: 10am-12pm, Saturday 9 April

Where: Mulligan’s Flat Woolshed, access from cnr Justice Kelly St & Quinane Ave, Forde

More information: See our event page here!

World Environment Day Dinner 4 June
Join us for our event of the year, the annual World Environment Day dinner! Janet Jeffs of Ginger Catering will cook up a treat using local, seasonal produce. A three course meal plus champagne and canapes to start, and your ticket includes bottled wine at the table. This year will feature large platters to share and delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes.

When: 7pm, Saturday 4 June

Where: National Arboretum Canberra, Forest Drive.

Buy your early bird ticket now!

Australia: renewable energy superpower launch!
What: The best engineering and technological analysis comes together to demonstrate how Australia can become a zero emissions economy. Launching their newest report, Beyond Zero Emissions make the case for Australia to seize its renewable energy advantage.

When: 6-7:30pm, Thursday 21 April

Where: ACT Legislative Assembly, Civic Square, City

Register now: See the website for all the details

Learning to adapt: EIANZ course
What: Learning to Adapt is designed to up-skill professionals on climate change adaptation planning and communication. You’ll build skills for adaptation projects, including applying climate science, assessing and managing climate change risks and implementing and communicating adaptation actions. Held one day a month over three months, you will be engaging with recognised experts and applying your learning by delivering group projects. Attend whole course, or a single module.


27 April: Module 1 – Applying the science of climate change impacts

18 May: Module 2 – Assessing and managing climate change risks

15 June: Module 3 – Implementing and communicating climate change adaptation action

Further info: See website!

Biodiversity offsets forum
What: Biodiversity offsets in the ACT are yet to demonstrate gains for biodiversity, with the ACT Government’s offset policy framework released in 2015. Join us to discuss the state of offset policy. Are Governance arrangements up to date? When will we be able to see net biodiversity gains?

When: 12–2pm, Thursday 28 April

Where: Alan Barton Forum, ANU College Business & Economics, Kingsley St Acton.

For registration and information click here.

Signing of the Paris Agreement at ANU
Join the EU delegation to Australia to celebrate the signing of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, New York 22 April. Ambassadors to Australia from some key brokers of the agreement including France, the EU and USA, will discuss their perspectives on their country’s continued climate change efforts. Australian Government and diplomatic representatives from emerging economies and the Pacific will also speak.

When: 6-7:40pm, Thursday 21 April

Where: Manning Clark Theatre 1, Union Court ANU

More information: See website for details and registration

Break Free from Fossil Fuels this May
This May, thousands of people will come together around the world for bold actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground. In Australia, hundreds of people from all walks of life will take a stand at the world’s largest coal port. Action will speak louder than politician’s words as a message is sent to leaders everywhere that it’s time for real action on climate change.

When: 7-8 May

Where: Newcastle, NSW

More information: See website for all details


14/26 Barry Drive
(GPO Box 544)
Canberra 2601

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