Mallee program just the ticket

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

Perth parking fines will be used to plant trees in regional WA.

The planting of more than 85,000 mallee trees is expected to get begin near Koorda this month in a bid to offset carbon emissions of Perth drivers.

The trees will be paid for by parking fines accumulated in the city precinct.

The City of Perth has engaged carbon offset company, Carbon Conscious to plant and maintain the trees which are set to capture 15,600 tonnes of carbon over the life of the project.

Carbon Conscious chief executive Peter Balsarini said the project was a great way to offset carbon while improving Wheatbelt soils.

“Our business is about identifying marginal agricultural land and putting it back into trees,” he said.

Mr Balsarini said the trees would be permanent and would help reduce topsoil erosion and salinity.

Carbon Conscious purchased the land for the trees, however, Mr Balsarini said in the future it would like to co-venture with farmers.

“This would give farmers the opportunity to make money from planting trees,” he said.

“Ultimately, it is areas of farms that are unproductive, so if a farmer could take the bottom 20 per cent out and put it to trees and get an economic return from carbon, the business overall will benefit.

“We are just waiting for that carbon legislation to come into play to know exactly what to do.”

Carbon Conscious will begin planting the trees in June after, hopefully, some good winter rains.

In stage one of the four-stage program, the City planted 85,000 trees at Kojonup in the Great Southern in 2009.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the City had an important role to play in trying to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“While encouraging the use of more sustainable forms of transport, we recognise that cars will be the preferred conveyance for some time to come,” she said.

“Planting the trees also recognises the important relationship between cities and rural areas and their interdependencies.

“City of Perth parking stations are themselves being more sustainably designed, with the new Elder Street Car Park having solar panels on the roof to supply energy to electric vehicle recharge points, natural ventilation and sensor-controlled lighting.”

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