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Rudd Government funding spells death for school trees

Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert is concerned that trees in schoolyards across Australia are being cut down to accommodate
standardised new buildings under the Rudd Government's Building the  Education Revolution funding guidelines.


"Concerned parents in Perth have told me that many trees have already been cut down while the future of others hangs on a thread, only thanks to the intervention of concerned parents," Senator Siewert said.

"This problem cannot be blamed on the school principals, who are stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to secure Federal funding to
improve school facilities but not having the freedom to ensure that the new buildings fit into the school's existing surrounds.

"In some of the cases, trees under threat in Perth are tuarts, apparently hundreds of years old. Just by modifying the BER guidelines
slightly, the new buildings could be built without destroying them.

"There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that trees and natural vegetation have a beneficial impact on human thought and wellbeing,"
Senator Siewert continued.

"In addition, large, older trees also provide shade and a place to play.

"It seems utterly senseless to be cutting down trees in schoolyards just because of bureaucracy and red tape, when a bit of flexibility could
ensure new facilities are built while preserving existing natural attributes," Senator Siewert concluded.

To view schools in your State/Territory allocated funding under Rounds One and Two of 'Primary Schools for the 21st Century' BER funding go to: http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/BuildingTheEducationRevolution/Pages/default.aspx

For more information or media enquiries, call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763

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