Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg
Mayor, City of Onkaparinga, SA & President Local Government Association SA

18th National Street Tree Symposium
Thursday 7 September 2017

Sanctuary Function Room, Adelaide Zoo

Welcome to the TREENET Symposium.

A special congratulations and Happy Birthday to TREENET for celebrating its 20th Year.


I would like to recognise the Kuarna people as the traditional owners of this country.

I also recognise Dr Greg Moore – our Keynote Speaker today and congratulate him on his well-deserved OAM from the Queens Birthday Honour list 2017.

I recognise Glenn Williams Director, TREENET.

I recognise David Lawry OAM and Lyn Such.

I especially congratulate Dr Jennifer Gardner for her fantastic service as curator of the Waite Arboretum for 30 years following on from Dr David Symon.  She retired this year and her achievement in putting the Arboretum at the forefront of Urban Forestry in Australia was appropriately rewarded in this year’s Australia Day Honours also with an OAM.


I spent many an enjoyable hour wandering through the arboretum and grounds during my student days at Waite.

I was a graduate of Agricultural Science – one year behind David Lawry.

This is such an important asset for Adelaide and South Australia more broadly.

My studies were in Animal Physiology and Biochemistry but surprisingly it is my enjoyment of botany and native plants that led to my purchase of garden centres and eventually my farm with its 2½ acres of garden.

I want to acknowledge with thanks the kind invitation to me to open the proceedings.

On reflection I want to make the connections both as President of the Local Government Association and as Mayor of the City of Onkaparinga

Firstly as President of the LGA, I reflect back to a speech given by Major John Dyer OAM – then President of the LGA and Mayor of the City of Hindmarsh and Woodville.  He gave the opening address to the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation at the Waite in September 1995.

In that presentation he reflected on the growth of our urban areas and the pressure on the natural treed environment.  Nothing has changed, he reflected on the urban expectation that trees should not drop leaves, flowers, limbs and should not need water –nothing has changed.  And he predicted an ecological approach would dominate the future of the urban environment.

As it turned out that seminar on Trees in the Urban Environment proved to be a watershed moment in the birth of TREENET.

Following on from a presentation by a well-respected civil engineer on the damage to infrastructure caused by tree roots, Greg Moore set aside the paper he had prepared and generously provided him and the enthralled audience with a lesson on tree root biology. He blamed poor engineering as the principal cause of the conflict between tree roots and the built environment and that shift in momentum carried on to the co-founding  of TREENET by Jennifer and David in February 1997.

Well although some things remain the same, I am pleased that the

emphasis for local government and community planning today does reflect sustainable water use, recycled and reuse of resources and trees as a focal point of landscape (especially in the broader context).

However with ever-increasing densification, the challenge will continue to find the tree space in a front or back yard.

That is why it is so important to support maintenance of open space, nature play opportunities and appropriate plantings along our creek lines and streets.

Which brings me to my role as Mayor of the City of Onkaparinga and work being done there.

The City of Onkaparinga has = 680,000 trees on our roadsides, reserves and streets.  This means a continual challenge of replacement, pruning, protection of significant trees and maintaining biodiversity through the region.

Ongoing challenges of climate change make this process increasingly difficult. However we are an innovative Council.

Recently major upgrades of roads around our Civic Centre incorporated TREENET Inlets and SPACE structural soil in the design by our WSUD savvy staff. They learned much about this emerging practice from regular attendance at TREENET Symposia. .

Also the City of Onkaparinga is extremely proud to have collaborated with TREENET and Willunga National Trust to deliver the Willunga Avenue of Trees Gallipoli Commemoration planting.  This saw 100 Canary Oaks planted on the sweeping triangular entrance to Willunga, one for each year since the Gallipoli landing.  I am pleased to say this is a very successful project and all the trees are doing well.

My other great pleasure is to introduce our Bob Such Keynote speaker.  I feel honoured to be doing this as Bob was a parliamentary colleague and a friend.  His seat of Fisher sat within the City of Onkaparinga and our Council, with the support and agreement of Lyn, commemorated him by naming a Reserve in Aberfoyle Park in his honour.

Bob and I had a few laughs together and enjoyed a shared love of the environment and children.  We even competed once at a tree planting exercise on Frank Smith Reserve with the aid of the Coromandel Primary School students.

 The Bob Such Keynote presenter role recognises Bob’s long time management committee role for TREENET.

Dr Greg Moore will give the Keynote address today.