The leading voice in protecting your local environment
Yellow Box Dispatch April 2016
Yellow Box Dispatch April 2016
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.
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!
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT
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?
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!
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.”
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
We are a voice for the environment in the ACT region.
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