by Anne Wharton for Grow Grow Grow Your Own
Craig Wilkins from Conservation SA reports that Adelaide continues to lose its magnificent old trees at an alarming rate. ‘While we await the latest results from Lidar scanning, recent analysis from NearMaps on four indicator suburbs (Glenalta, Netherby, Melrose Park and Walkerville) suggests that between 2011 and 2021 tree canopy cover has reduced from 170 to 127.8 hectares. Glenalta alone has dropped from 94 to just 55 hectares – a phenomenal loss of over 40%! We need to turn this around – urgently.’
On 24 October 2022, a large public meeting was held, convened by Conservation SA, to hear from tree experts on what needs to happen. Sophie Thomson (ABC Gardening Australia) was the MC, and the Planning Minister, Mr Nick Champion MP was in attendance. There were nearly 400 people present and we heard an excellent presentation from the University of Adelaide comparing SA’s tree laws with the other states. Unfortunately SA is way behind. There is currently a review of the planning laws for significant and regulated trees, as well as wider planning issues. Many of us felt frustrated by the refusal of the Minister to be drawn on what a suite of reforms might look like and on the impossibility of putting a halt to tree clearances while we all work through the consultation process of the current review. As stated so eloquently at the meeting by an audience member, its not just about passion – the evidence is in, and we know what we need to do.
You can be involved in the consultation process simply by going to the Conservation Council’s Be a Tree Champion page and personalising the email with a couple of details. It will be sent to Minister Champion, the Expert Review Panel, the Premier and the Shadow Planning Minister Michelle Lensink. There is further information there if you prefer to write your own letter. The final date for submissions to the PDC Implementation Review is Friday 16 December 2022. We urge people to write to the Expert Panel and express their concerns about the continuing loss of trees under the current laws.
As part of the presentations at the public meeting, 2 brief videos were presented, part of a series of 8 stories that have been put together by Grow Grow Grow Your Own, Conservation SA and National Trust SA.
- The inspiring story of Hugh Kneebone’s family living with a magnificent river red gum that they planted 31 years ago – https://youtu.be/2Clgjmofcmk.
- Highlighting the total inadequacy of current laws to protect significant trees on private land when a magnificent lemon scented gum was removed because it was within 10 metres of a buried pool – https://youtu.be/Pe5jvXpJtXw
To see all 8 videos on trees please go to Sustainable Communities SA’s YouTube Channel.