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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3803..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

including water and energy, tourism, biodiversity, health, rural industries and natural disaster management. Locally, we need to focus on areas where we can make positive and effective changes to avoid activities that create new greenhouse gas emissions. We can also undertake actions that will enable us to reduce our existing emissions, ensuring that we are in a strong position to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Building this understanding and resilience in the community is fundamental to avoiding or minimising costs caused by climate change. This government understands that it is essential that an ACT climate change strategy incorporate improving the knowledge and awareness of climate change as well as reviewing and identifying climate change risks and communicating this knowledge to the community. The ACT can and should add our voice to the climate change debate and set an example for others to follow. Innovative approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions are being developed and we can look at examples overseas and in Australia and, where effective, consider adapting them to suit our circumstances.

To this end, the ACT has recently joined its state and territory government colleagues in the Council of Australian Federation in writing to the governors of those US states that have, despite their national government's refusal to ratify the Kyoto targets, accepted the principles underlying the protocol. It is anticipated that this approach will establish a basis for international cooperation at a local level. We can also take up the challenge to develop our own innovative solutions—solutions that would be advantageous for our environment, for our economy and our society and that will maintain or enhance our lifestyle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.15): It is interesting that, with a minute and 37 seconds to go, the erstwhile minister for the environment ran out of puff. And after 81/2 minutes of his saying nothing, we are still none the wiser as to what this government will do to affect climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The great tragedy of this debate that Mr Gentleman has brought forward is that all we have got from the ACT Labor government, the Jon Stanhope Labor government, after five years in office is hot air and a discussion paper. Yes, I know it is hard to believe that after five years in government all they have is a discussion paper. Mr Gentleman alluded to what might be in it—the various principles that might appear—and said, "Yes, educating people about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change would be important."But we are still none the wiser on how this government will achieve that.

Next month, next year—who knows when; some time soon—we might get from the government where they stand. When Jon Stanhope earlier this year admitted his failure as an environment minister and flick-passed it to John Hargreaves, what he said was that having ignored the environment for almost five years the government was going to continue to ignore the environment, because all they have got is a discussion paper. The logic was, "It is too expensive. We had it costed. It was going to cost $140 million, which is approximately the same price as a prison."Prison, greenhouse gas emission: choices. That is what we have got here: real and sincere choices. And what we have got from the government is total, abject failure on the issue of the environment, greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.


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