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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1872..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

Secondly, the motion called on the government to initiate an air pollution warning system to request households with wood heating to use alternative forms of heating, where practical, on days of high air pollution. This is similar to the "Don't light tonight" program run by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority. This winter an air pollution warning system will be trialled in the ACT. Environment ACT will issue warnings to the public after analysis of data supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology. It is estimated that there could be as many as 12 warnings over the winter of this year.

The ACT firewood strategy will continue to be promoted. Elements of this strategy include community education on best practice firewood selection and operation of firewood heaters.

Thirdly, Mr Speaker, the motion called on the government to investigate measures that the ACT could adopt to assist low income households which rely on wood heating to install less polluting heating systems. The ACT Council of Social Services has expressed concern with this proposal. The conversion of firewood heaters to less polluting heating systems has implications for those low income households who may face a higher recurrent cost of natural gas or electricity following conversion. Concern was also raised that private rents may be increased as the result of the conversion.

The government has in place several initiatives aimed at reducing household space heating requirements. These include the public housing retrofit program, which will improve the energy efficiency of a proportion of ACT Housing's detached housing stock, and the Energy Advisory Service providing free advice on how to reduce heating costs. These initiatives have the potential to reduce the amount of firewood used in the ACT. The government will not be proceeding with the proposed conversion assistance scheme.

Mr Speaker, the government has responded to the Assembly's motion on air pollution from wood heating, and will continue with ongoing efforts to educate the community on the efficient use of wood burning heaters. These actions will make a significant contribution to improving Canberra's air quality.

Children and Young People Act-review of therapeutic protection orders

Paper and statement by minister

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): Mr Speaker, for the information of members and on behalf of Mr Moore, I present the following paper:

Children and Young People Act, pursuant to section 245-The terms of reference for the review of Therapeutic Protection Orders.

I ask for leave to make a short statement on behalf of Mr Moore, the health minister.

Leave granted.


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