Following calls from the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) – Victoria Division for more tree canopy in growth areas like Melbourne’s western suburbs, the Victorian government has today announced funding for 500 000 trees to be planted in the area.
The announcement includes an investment of $5 million to plant 500,000 trees in growth areas across six councils in Melbourne’s west, the involvement of experts to make sure the right trees are planted in the right places and funding available through grants to community organisations and local councils.
“This a great result, responding to the advocacy of PIA Victoria and our expert members who have been fighting for environmental or ‘green’ infrastructure to be considered on equal footing with traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure in our growing city” said PIA Victorian Vice President, Jane Keddie.
PIA’s suggestion to improve the tree canopy of these growth areas was first made in its submission to the Inquiry into Environmental Infrastructure for Growing Populations in October last year.
Alongside improvements to tree canopy, PIA also advocated for open spaces and other green spaces to be understood as a vital part of urban infrastructure to recognise their importance in communities, and for a greater focus on ‘quality’ and ‘fit’ of open space as opposed to the traditional focus on ‘quantity’ and ‘proximity’. PIA’s submission also called for measures to recognise the important role the private sector must play in delivering green infrastructure.
“In our submission we made it clear that environmental infrastructure isn’t just about parks and open spaces, but all elements of the public and private realm which enhance ecosystems, build resilience and mitigate climate change” Ms Keddie explained.
“We specifically highlighted the need for a deeper consideration of how an urban canopy can be supported in growth areas, where smaller lot sizes and large building footprints limit canopy spread within the private realm. Today’s announcement recognises PIA’s advocacy and is an important first step”.
The benefits of taking environmental infrastructure seriously are clear – stronger biodiversity values, reduction in the heat island effect, deeper community connection to nature and more productive cities. PIA will continue to advocate for open space, waterway corridors, wild and natural areas, green streets and a strong urban tree canopy in Melbourne and across Victoria.
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) is the national body representing planning and the planning profession. Through education, communication and professional development, PIA is the pivotal organisation serving and guiding thousands of planning professionals in their role of creating better communities.
PIA currently represents approximately 5300 members nationally and internationally, and connects with more than 7500 planners annually. We are governed by a National Board of Directors and managed by a professional administration. We are a member-based organisation with its management complemented by volunteers, who support and contribute to our activities on various levels.