Labor sets environmental vision for Sydney - commits to planting six million trees

In Parliament | 13.02.19

Michael Daley and Labor will plant two million trees in his first term of government as part of a new environmental vision for Sydney. The Green Spaces, Great Places program announced today will be used to take into account environmental assets within the planning system.

The first action of the plan will be to plant six million trees by 2030.

Labor understands the crucial importance of green spaces and tree cover in a city that will be home to an extra one million people in the next decade. Labor will invest $50 million over four years as part of its plan to put the environment at the centre of city planning, particularly in the fast growing region of Western Sydney where just a fifth of dwellings have tree cover.

As part of its commitment to protect the environment, Labor also announced today it will review the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) with a view to better protect trees and ensure our laws recognise the benefits that come from green spaces.

Labor’s Green Spaces and Great Places program will assist local government, state government agencies, community organisations and private land holders to restore and enhance green spaces. It will also assist the acquisition of land to be used for environmental, social and recreational uses by the community.

NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley, said that after eight years of environmental degradation under the Liberals and Nationals, Labor is putting the environment at the heart of the city’s development.

Mr Daley said: “One of the biggest casualties of the madness that has descended on Sydney has been the environment.

A Daley Labor government will restore tree canopy, create new open spaces for people to enjoy and protect our trees into the future. People are crying out for greenery in this city and Labor will give it to them.”

Labor will plant half a million trees a year to restore Sydney’s lungs and allow the people to breathe,” he said.

The Berejiklian Liberals have removed more trees than have been planted, including 800 for the wasteful light rail project, and 100 historic fig trees along Anzac Parade. Golf courses, bowling clubs and other parks have been lost to development, and they have made it easier to sell off Crown Land.

Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, said trees play a vital role in improving the liveability of a city.

“Trees improve the air quality, attract more wildlife and provide welcome respite from the heat, yet under the Liberals they are treated as hurdles to development.  

“As part of Labor’s vision for the environment we will protect trees, plant trees and make sure our environmental assets are included in planning decisions,” Ms Sharpe said.