Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 1952..
DR FOSKEY: Is the minister aware that continuation of the greenhouse gas abatement scheme until 2012 is likely to be an impediment to moving towards a national and international trading scheme?
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Dr Foskey. I am more than happy to take both your question and supplementary question on notice and provide a detailed response. Far from suggesting that the greenhouse gas abatement scheme that the ACT government has entered into in partnership with New South Wales is an impediment, I have always regarded it—and continue to regard it—as a move towards a national emissions trading scheme. It is the only scheme or arrangement in Australia at the moment that shows any semblance of the need for us as a nation, and indeed the world, to adopt a trading regime. It is a first step, and a very good first step.
Some of the detail I will provide in relation to the question you ask will go to the impact that our adoption of the greenhouse gas abatement scheme has had here in the ACT. Certainly, as I indicated in a statement that I made on Tuesday, as a result of remodelling undertaken by the ICRC, there has been a rationing down of the effect of the ACT's participation in the greenhouse gas abatement scheme within the ACT. That is a result of modelling which apportions a different level of population to the ACT vis-a-vis New South Wales. It is a technical adjustment. There is an adjustment down in the overall benefit.
But even with the new arrangement, equation or ratio of population that has been attributed to the ACT as against New South Wales, the effect of our participation in the scheme in the last year—in the context of the credits granted—was the removal of about 43,000 cars from ACT roads over the course of the year. That is very significant. That will be repeated over this next year, and the year after, and the year after, until we get to the point where we as a nation embrace—and continue to participate in—a national emissions trading scheme.
I regard it—as does all my advice, Dr Foskey—as a very good set of first steps. It has had a significant impact in the context of its operation over these last two years. I am pleased that the ACT government, along with the New South Wales government, has been able to participate—in the context of Australia—in the first attempts at an emissions trading scheme.
I acknowledge that it does not go as far as we all hope and expect. Of course, the states and the territories, in the absence of leadership and participation by the commonwealth, had committed to go it alone in relation to the development of a national emissions trading scheme. Our declared intent is that such a scheme will be up and operational by 2010. The federal government—the Prime Minister; the Johnny-come-lately to climate change; Australia's leading climate sceptic; better late than never—
Mr Corbell: A bit like Gary Humphries.
MR STANHOPE: The same as Gary Humphries; yes—better late than never. This is something that the Liberal Party in this place in Australia cannot hide from or walk away from. For the last 10 years in Australia, the great impediment, bulwark and