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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 1924..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

Senator Lightfoot advised that the joint standing committee is subject to its resolution of appointment and, further, that the Public Accounts Committee of the Australian parliament had only ever conducted one joint inquiry. One member of the current joint committee had participated in that inquiry, and others were aware of the procedural and administrative issues associated with joint inquiries.

The planning and environment committee is disappointed in the joint standing committee's response, as persuasive reasons had been provided in the annual reports report as to why joint inquiries should be considered. The committee regards collaborative and participatory governance for the territory as an important goal. The committee intends to raise this matter again with the incoming Australian parliament following the next federal election before the parliament reconstitutes its committees. The committee also notes the continuing possibility of joint inquiries by Assembly committees with other Australian parliamentary committees, and trusts that any other proposal to pursue joint inquiries is not dismissed so quickly.

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I seek leave to make a statement regarding my attendance at the inaugural conference of Australian members of parliament entitled Environment and Industry.

Leave granted.

MR GENTLEMAN: Last month, as chair of the committee for planning and environment, I had the privilege of representing the ACT Legislative Assembly at the environment and industry inaugural conference of Australian members of parliament held at the parliament of Victoria. This conference enabled a forum of commonwealth, state and territory members of parliament to enhance their parliamentary experiences by sharing their knowledge and practices on a wide range of relevant issues. Along with Mr Stefaniak I was joined by 62 other members of Australian parliaments in attending seminars by field experts on various environment and industry topics.

At this conference I was fortunate enough to attend a range of seminars that were relevant to both members of the Assembly and the greater ACT community. These seminars included a look at how energy efficiency regulation of the housing market can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, what implications climate change both present and future is having on our economy, and how a carbon trading emissions scheme is likely to work in practice in Australia. While all the seminars I attended contained vast amounts of valuable information, one seminar which I found particularly relevant to the ACT was about water issues in the 21st century. I will not go into details about the current water situation in the ACT, as I am sure we are all well aware of it, but we do need to pay close attention to what is happening nationally in regard to the sustainability of water resources.

Our very own Peter Cullen from the University of Canberra delivered the seminar on Australia's increasing water scarcity and how we need to build on a national water initiative to develop a sustainable management plan that integrates both land and water issues. Mr Cullen raised some very important issues in relation to the 2004 national water initiative that should not come as a shock to any of us. Mr Cullen informed the conference that he believed the national water initiative is not working. According to Mr Cullen, four Australian capital cities are still in a race to see which


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