Topics: Cities policy, urban canopies
G'day Minister, good afternoon to you.
And g'day Ben.
You want to plant more trees?
Yeah we do. We have for Western Sydney a million trees that we'll work on with councils and local communities, and I think we've already contracted 750,000 of those.
And around the country there are 20 million trees that we'll be putting into urban or near urban areas.
It's pretty simple, that it's a better environment for people to live in.
Around the world there's incredibly strong evidence that the more green coverage in terms of trees and parks, the cooler an area.
As an example, and this is a pretty common example, I think it's about 31 degrees in Sydney according to what I checked just before coming on air, and 34 degrees in Penrith at the moment – and that's a pretty common difference, give or take a degree or two.
But you know, three degrees, four degrees, it's often that difference between the two on hot days.
The more greenery, the better air quality, the cooler the area, the better living quality for families in the area.
Is it just me, I feel that when I visit wealthier suburbs you sometimes – I get out of the car, or you drive through and you go – oh look at all these beautiful trees lining the street.
Look, I think that one of the facts of life is that many older suburbs have established trees.
And we should not accept less than high quality suburbs for everyone.
And that means we can plant more trees. It shouldn't be a wealthier-less wealthy divide.
This is one of the things we can actually control, and that's why we're putting a million trees into Western Sydney.
But we'd encourage councils around the country, but especially in Western Sydney, to join us.
And they have been good, we're working with them, and families and others.
The more trees that are planted, there's no question it makes a difference to fresh air – lungs of the city, cleaner air quality, but also a genuinely measurably cooler environment.
I'm just thinking about the practicalities here, and I don't want to be glass half empty in any way, but the more trees you plant in streets like this the more interference you're going to have with power lines, right?
People manage trees all around the country. Australians are pretty good at that.
And there are always trade-offs, but I would guess that the majority of people, the vast majority, would rather live in a street with trees and have to manage any issues with the power lines than not have the trees.
If you can do that it improves the quality of life, and frankly for kids it's a much nicer environment, and for everybody it's a cooler environment.
And the raw economic argument is you can moderate temperatures naturally – not only do people want to live there, but it'll help with savings on electricity bills.
Good to talk to you, thanks for your time.