Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 3053..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
In the report the commissioner highlights that we are consuming natural resources at an unsustainable rate, and, while efforts are being made to address this, more needs to be done. She says Canberrans must accept responsibility as a community. The government strongly supports this view. Responsible environmental management is a task for the whole ACT community. Environmental goals will only be achieved by working together. There is clear evidence that this can, and does, happen. The community's response to continuing low water storage as a result of the drought and fire demonstrates a capacity and willingness to respond effectively to environmental issues.
In recognition of these qualities, the government maintains a strong community support program through education, awareness raising and incentives. The government has celebrated the one year anniversary of the release of its climate change strategy, Weathering the Change. The leadership the government is providing is facilitating a great response from the community. We know that there is still more to be done and that there are things we can all do to make a difference, but we are certainly heading in the right direction. Each of us has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our homes, offices and through our use of cars.
The ACT government is working in partnership with the community to encourage smarter use of resources. We have started with our own operations and are leading by example in the wider community to help people contribute to a more sustainable future.
Over the last two years we have seen a 50 per cent increase in the take-up rate of green power. This figure will grow as the new opt-out green power arrangements take effect from 1 January next year. We have committed that all ACT government agencies including schools, hospitals, shopfronts and other government facilities, will work towards becoming carbon neutral—that is, to generate no net emissions from their activities. A consultant has been employed and is developing guidelines for agencies to put together their own sustainability action plans.
We have established a loan fund for agencies to access to make energy efficiency improvements in their own operations. The fund commenced on 7 November 2007, with the first round of applications closing in February 2008. Applications from CIT and Canberra Stadium have been approved, worth $128,000 for cogeneration, heating, energy audits and implementation and will be rolled out in the coming months.
Earlier today I introduced a bill to amend the Duties Act to allow purchasers of energy-efficient cars to receive stamp duty discounts. This is a strong step in encouraging more sustainable transport. We committed to making public housing properties more energy efficient and, importantly, more affordable for tenants to live in. We are looking at things like better insulation, efficient heating-cooling systems, double glazing of windows, installing solar hot water systems and introducing other renewable technologies.
We have introduced a rebate for solar hot water systems to eligible households participating in the ACT energy wise program audits. We are converting our ACTION fleet to low emission models and providing free bus travel to bike riders who use the on-bus bike racks. We are replacing our street lights with energy efficient versions—