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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2612 asked in the Legislative Council on 24 October 2019 by Hon Tim Clifford

Question Directed to the: Minister for Environment representing the Minister for Planning
Minister responding: Hon R. Saffioti
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

I refer to the Liveable towns and cities section of the Climate Change In Western Australia Issues Paper, specifically regarding urban forests, and I ask:
(a) what is the current protection afforded to bushland with the Perth Metropolitan Area;
(b) how does the State Government plan to strengthen this;
(c) given loss of vegetation in urban areas is exacerbating the effects of climate change, how does the State Government plan to enforce increased tree canopy and vegetation across urban areas to mitigate this; and
(d) will the State Government require all new developments to retain or plant vegetation to increase the urban tree canopy:
(i) if yes to (d), what is the requirement and how will it be enforced; and
(ii) if no to (d), why not?

Answered on 28 November 2019

(a) Perth Metropolitan Area bushland is afforded protection through the following:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1986 makes it an offence to clear native vegetation unless the clearing is done in accordance with a clearing permit, or an exemption applies.
  • Bush Forever, released in 2000, is a whole of government policy for the conservation of regionally significant bushland on the Swan Coastal Plain Portion of the Perth Metropolitan Region.
  • State Planning Policy 2.8 – Bushland Policy for the Perth Metropolitan Region provides an implementation framework for bushland protection and management in the Perth Metropolitan Region which includes Bush Forever areas and local bushland.

(b) The Perth and Peel@3.5million land use and infrastructure planning frameworks released in 2018 plan for an anticipated population of 3.5 million. These frameworks acknowledge the importance of protecting and retaining a green network of parks, rivers, conservation and biodiversity areas, and areas with high level tree canopy coverage, as Perth and Peel grow and develop in a changing climate.

The State Government also supports the planning, enhancement, retention and maintenance of urban trees through Better Urban Forest Planning: A guide to support the enhancement of urban forests in Western Australia (2018). The Western Australian Planning Commission has been working with the Western Australian Local Government Association to ensure the collection and distribution of high quality tree canopy data for Perth and Peel is used in the preparation, monitoring and evaluation of local government urban forest strategies for current and future generations.

(c) The Government is seeking to increase tree canopy and vegetation in urban areas through the Design WA suite of policies. An example of this is the inclusion of design parameters in State Planning Policy 7.3 – Residential Design Codes Volume 2 – Apartments that was released in May 2019 as part of Stage One of Design WA. The policy recognises that good landscape design integrates apartments with the existing ecology, enhances natural systems and contributes to tree canopy and biodiversity. Minimum deep soil areas and tree provision requirements form part of this policy.

(d) The Government is progressing subsequent stages of Design WA which seek to expand on the apartment standards so they become applicable for precincts and other medium density developments. This will expand on the good landscape design initiated through the Design WA apartment code.

(i) The requirements for tree canopy and deep soil areas are dependent on site area, with the required number and size of trees determined on a progressive scale for apartments. This is enforced through the planning approvals process by the decision maker, which is predominantly local government.

(ii) Not applicable.