Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4004..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
company that wants to set up a recycling episode in the general area of the Mugga Lane landfill.
I believe that Jon Stanhope has done wonders in putting the discussion around the environment and sustainability into conversations at the dinner tables in this town. The sustainable skills initiative mentioned by Dr Foskey is brilliant. The other day I went to a function put on by half a dozen schools and what they are doing out there in those schools is phenomenal. It really is. It was a bit of a cheap shot, I think, to link that with the school closures, instead of congratulating those kids on what they have been doing. We know that if we want to effect cultural and attitudinal change, one of the best ways is through having the kids educating the adults on how to do it. That is happening.
I thank Ms MacDonald for putting this subject on the table today. We need to have people talking about it, but we do not need people arguing about it and saying, "I am better at it than you are,"or "You are not doing enough". What needs to happen is the opposition needs to put ideas on the table. On this issue, try to resist the temptation to oppose for opposition's sake. Put your ideas on the table in this chamber. Let me tell you from where I am standing that if those ideas can fly we will pick them up, we will assist their flight and we will pay credit to wherever they came from. I have no particular desires in this portfolio to gain political points out of this issue as it is too serious. It is, quite seriously, much too serious an issue.
Talking about the effects of climate change, I think the things that we are doing in the ACT are way ahead of those of lots of other people, but then again we started from a pretty good spot. We did not have to retrofit so much. From memory, it goes right back to Mr Smyth's time for something for which I pay him credit. I think it was in Mr Smyth's time that this initiative actually occurred. I refer to the use of wood heaters in Tuggeranong. It was about getting people out of using rotten wood and into properly regulated mixed loads. I am quite happy to stand up here and applaud the then government of the day. The Tuggeranong Valley was the second worst city, or part of a city, in Australia for wood smoke, after Launceston. Due to the initiative of the government of the day, I think that the situation has improved immensely.
I do not wish to challenge anybody on this issue, but I do implore people to take into account that climate change is all about the next generations. Let's not score points off each other. Let's work together on this issue. I am quite happy to do that. I would encourage the opposition to put ideas on the table, remembering that we can only do things within our resources. We would all like to do more, but let's see how we can do them within the resources that we have.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.33): It is good that Ms MacDonald has put this on the table for discussion today because yet again it highlights how little she knows about the subject and how little the government has done in the whole area of delivering environmentally sustainable solutions for the ACT. I will start where Mr Hargreaves finished. He said, "Put your ideas on the table; let us have a discussion; let us put down the cudgels."I think you can read into that that the government has just surrendered. The environment minister has surrendered, because he does not have any ideas. After five years in office, they have achieved nothing on the environmental