Protecting our Canberra Environment

The Greens are acting to protect our environment & everything that depends on it.

From our lakes to our trees, our waterways and our local parks, we’re lucky to live in Canberra, on Ngunnawal land.

We must ensure this precious environment is protected.

We must look after Canberra’s diverse natural heritage and better protect our wild places and threatened species.

We must reduce our waste footprint, by ensuring that we’re making the best use of recycled goods and living as sustainably as we can.

But our environment is under threat like never before.

The threat of climate change requires urgent action to ensure our environment survives and flourishes for future generations to enjoy.

The Greens recognise that good economic management means taking care of our environment. Our future will only be a prosperous one if we build our economy on the principles of long-term sustainability and science, rather than short-term self-interest and political point-scoring.

That’s why we are:

  • Constructing wetlands across Canberra to improve water quality and protect against increasing urban heat;
  • Protecting our precious biodiversity;
  • Reducing waste by banning thin single-use plastic bags, introducing a container deposit scheme, and expanding public recycling options;
  • Protecting Canberra’s air quality by improving regulations around wood heaters and pushing for more electric vehicles, including buses and light rail.

The Greens have a plan to build a future where our environment, our wildlife and our future generations thrive.

You can also find out more about our world-leading climate action efforts here.

Protecting our biodiversity

The ACT Greens believe that we must protect our ecosystem and the native wildlife that we’re so lucky to have here in Canberra. We’ve called on the Government to restore Canberra’s tree canopy – home to bird species such as the ACT threatened Brown Treecreeper. We’ve demanded the protection of key threatened species habitats such as the yellow-box red-gum woodlands and grasslands at Kinlyside and Throsby.

We’re also fighting to prevent the endless expansion of Canberra’s suburbs into sensitive ecological areas. By building a more compact city we can help protect the valuable biodiversity around Canberra.

Striving for zero waste

Too Much Waste

We have a waste problem.

Canberrans deserve clean air, fresh water and unpolluted soil.

To achieve this, we need to reduce our waste to landfill and transition to a circular economy.

Restructuring the ACT’s waste management system to a circular economy means we can, by design, drastically reduce our waste, get the most value out of our resources, and protect our communities and environment from pollution.

The Greens have the solutions to reduce waste in the ACT.

We need to:

  • Invest in compost, not landfill
  • Keep reducing unnecessary single-use plastics and other items
  • Advocate for the Government to rule out dirty waste-to energy processes, such as incineration
  • Continue to improve waste education in the ACT for all households, recycling ‘smarter’ to accelerate our transition to a circular economy
  • Campaign for action at all levels of Government.
Reduce single use plastic

We need to keep reducing unnecessary single-use plastics.

Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists in some form. We need to reduce our plastic use if we want to keep our lands, our oceans, and our community healthy.

To do this, we must reduce the impacts of plastic in our everyday lives—especially cutting back on unnecessary single-use plastics.

We’ve already put a ban on thin single-use plastic bags. We’re also pleased that the ACT Government will consider a potential ban on single-use plastics in coming years.

Banning single-use plastic bags

Our single use plastic bag ban, introduced in November 2011 following a Parliamentary Agreement item, has been a huge success.

In 2017 alone, the ban reduced plastic bag use in the ACT by over 55 million bags. The ban is broadly supported by our Canberra community, and is changing attitudes and behaviour.

But there’s still more to be done.

With our growing population, consumption levels are slowly returning to pre-ban levels and may do so by the early 2020s unless further measures are introduced.

At the federal level, the Greens have long advocated for a national ban on single-use plastic bags by all states, and to ban microbeads.

We need to rule out waste-to energy processes, such as incineration

Burning waste is no better than burning dirty fossil fuels. It will not support our world-leading efforts to achieve zero net emissions by 2045 at the latest.

That’s why the ACT Greens will continue to encourage the Government to rule out incineration facilities for good.

Find out more by downloading our ‘Sustainable Zero Waste Future’ policy framework.


Continue to improve waste education

The Greens are working hard to improve waste education in the ACT.

We are especially pleased to have established ‘Actsmart’—the ACT’s one-stop-shop for sustainable programs and advice as a result of our 2008 Parliamentary Agreement.

Celebrating 10 years in 2019, Actsmart has helped countless people over the last decade lead more sustainable lifestyles.

This includes:

  • Supporting 12,000 households with energy assessments, education, draught proofing and energy efficient appliances and the newly added solar installations
  • Successfully installing  over 6000 water efficient toilets across Canberra homes
  • Establishing the Actsmart Business Energy and Water program, helping over 500 businesses save over $1 million in annual bills.
  • Celebrating the sustainable achievements of ACT schools, seeing more young Canberrans get actively involved in sustainability efforts and protecting our precious planet
  • Online tools such as the Eco Challenge have helped 4,000 Canberrans reduce their energy and emissions.

We’re working hard to continue waste education efforts in our community.

We need action at all levels of Government

That’s why our federal Greens counterparts are keeping up the fight for a comprehensive national waste strategy, and to ensure all states and territories achieve a nationally consistent approach when it comes to dealing with waste. Learn more about this here


The ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025 and Living Infrastructure Plan

More trees for a greener CBR

As part of the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025 and Living Infrastructure Plan:

We've committed the Government to planting hundreds of thousands of new trees and other 'green' infrastructure in Canberra.

 At a time of climate emergency, trees and 'green infrastructure' - like green roofs, green walls, and green verges - are even more important.

The climate is warming—summers are getting hotter—and heatwaves are happening more often, and are hotter, for longer.

Canberra’s urban trees are loved by the Canberra community, providing shade to keep our suburbs cool in summer and shelter for native birds and animals. 

Yet recently, street and park trees in our established suburbs have been declining by around 3,000 a year.

That’s why the Greens have delivered a Canberra first – a 30% urban tree canopy target and 30% surface permeability target for the ACT.

By introducing an urban canopy target, we’re working to secure our current tree canopy and the planting of hundreds of thousands of new trees in the years to come. These trees will provide much-needed shade and habitat for our city, while reducing the impacts of the ‘urban heat island effect’.

Our tree canopy target, together with a surface permeability target, will also mean more soft surfaces (e.g. soils, grasses, timber decking), and less hard surface areas (e.g. concrete, asphalt). As a result, rain can better infiltrate the soil and provide much-needed moisture for healthy trees and vegetation growth. Trees can then grow deeper tree roots, to make for a stronger, more resilient Canberra environment as the climate warms.

These targets will also support our waterways and improve water management - crucial steps to help our city mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

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