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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (27 September) . . Page.. 2869..


Mr Barr: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The Department of Education and Training uses a number of sources to inform the design of its environmental building works. These include specialist consultants' reports, the Green Building Council of Australia Guidelines and their Green Star Environmental rating system.

(2) Yes, the green star rating system assesses occupant well-being and performance by addressing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, lighting, occupant comfort and pollutants.

(3) Yes, solar panels have recently been incorporated into Amaroo School and Birrigai School. There are plans to also incorporate solar panels at the east Gungahlin school at Harrison, west Belconnen school and Gungahlin College to supplement and reduce their mains energy usage. The possibility of retrofitting panels into existing schools will be assessed on a school-by-school basis.

(4) Yes.

(5)

(a) Active steps are taken within ACT schools to minimise students' exposure to wi-fi radiation. These steps include:

    • wi-fi networks in ACT schools are minor networks. The bulk of IT equipment is networked via the major 'cabled' networks. This ensures the majority of students would not regularly use wi-fi-enabled technology in schools
    • site surveys are undertaken before any wi-fi equipment is installed to ensure there is no unnecessary overlap of the wi-fi signal, and
    • all wi-fi equipment within ACT schools accords with the Radiation Protection Standard 3 published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

(b) Doctor Lindsay Martin, a recognised national expert in this field and advisor to the Federal Government and manager of the Electromagnetic Radiation Section of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), says ARPANSA is not particularly concerned about electromagnetic energy levels emitted from wi-fi equipment. He states that all mobile phone and wireless telecommunication towers are required to adhere to the Radiation Protection Series 3 standards for frequencies 3kHz to 300Ghz (spectrum) Australian standards AS2772 for maximum exposure levels. Wi-fi technology electromagnetic energy emission levels are also well within this standard.

(c) I am aware of recent reports from the UK where some parents, teachers and councillors from an area in London are calling for the removal of existing wi-fi routers from schools and a ban on any new wireless installations. However, active steps are taken within ACT schools to minimise students' exposure to wi-fi radiation. See 5 (a).

Water—restrictions

(Question No 1672)

Mr Stefaniak asked the Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, upon notice, on 28 August 2007 (redirected to the Treasurer):


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