Michael graduated from Adelaide University with honours as a microbiologist and as a Pilot Officer with the RAAF. He taught maths and sciences at State and independent schools across South Australia. In 1975 he was appointed as Director of the Salisbury Education Centre to progress teacher training, publishing, and engaging the community which included establishing Radio Station 5PBA. Michael has been instrumental in founding nine schools and re-establishing two bankrupt schools. He was the foundation Principal and CEO of Trinity College Gawler in 1984, growing the student population to 3,300 students in 2002. Michael’s service ethos has led him to serve on many boards including Rostrevor College, the Australian Board of Education, Oceania ICLEI Steering Committee for Global Covenant of Mayors, the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and to chair ACARA’s Audit and Risk Committee. He was recognised as a Fellow of the Australian College of Education in 1998, and in January 2013 was made a Member of the Order of Australia. His book ‘How will our children learn?’ was published in 2012. Michael was elected as a Councillor for the City of Unley in 2006, serving for 12 years prior to being elected as mayor in 2018. Michael is married to Rosslyn; they have four children who have three children each; nine of whom live in Unley.
TREENET Symposium Speaker: Mayor Michael Hewitson
Will Inner Suburbs Cook? Efforts to grow and save trees in the City of Unley.
The City of Unley covers 1,429 hectares, tree canopy over is currently 28% or 400 Ha. Annual loss of canopy from private land totals 4 Ha, with 50% due to 200 new developments each year. To be cool and green Unley has a target of 31% canopy cover, but Council’s land, open space, buildings and roads cover just 16% of the total land area. By planting out all remaining opportunities Council’s land can only contribute 6.4% canopy cover to the City. The solution must involve trees on private property.
Unley Council won a national award for its use of LiDar to map every property’s canopy cover to 10 cm accuracy. Recent lidar data and data from three years ago record the % canopy cover now and previously and reveal the change in canopy cover. Increasing canopy cover requires that either more trees are planted on private property or Council has a fund to allow more land to be purchased to plant trees on – a tree land fund. This paper details what needs to be done to incentivize new developments to retain and grow trees. It is hoped that by the time of the symposium, Council will have received the support of the SA Minister for Planning to consult the community on our proposed solution: that new development approvals that will increase the built form will retain 15% canopy cover or will contribute to a tree land fund until they achieve 15% cover. Should our community support the proposal we would undertake a trial and measure the outcomes… to 10 cm accuracy.