Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 120..
MS HUNTER (continuing):
However, we would also like to see the government make bolder moves into developing the green economy with the stimulus package. For that reason, we suggest that the ACT government should support the ANU solar group in its involvement with the Australian Solar Institute. The Australian Solar Institute is a $100 million initiative of the federal government, initially to be built around the solar groups at ANU, the University of New South Wales and CSIRO.
While we are sure that the ANU solar group will get significant funding under this initiative, we expect that they will get more if there is co-funding by the ACT government. With that support, the ANU solar group and allied companies such as Spark Solar, Origin Energy, Chromasun, Wizard and others have the potential to form a major cluster of solar research and manufacturing in Canberra.
We also think that the ACT should take a more proactive view of industry support, along the lines of some other states. While we do not support competitive federalism leading to bidding wars for projects, we think that there is a role for targeted government support. Spark Solar is one green company that we are aware of which is trying to get the same level of assistance from the ACT government that has been offered to it by other governments. I assume that there are other companies as well.
I will now move to an area where the government should be showing more leadership, and that is in green commercial buildings. Canberra had the first five-green-star-rated building in Australia, at Brindabella Park, out at the airport, and then the first six-green-star-rated building, for Australian Ethical Investment. The salient point about both these buildings is that they were not built with government assistance or for government anchor tenants. They are examples of the private sector leading the government. The private sector is doing it because it is good for the environment, good for their staff and good for their bottom line.
The commonwealth government has required all new and substantially refurbished buildings, whether owned or leased by the commonwealth government, to achieve 4.5 star energy rating. The ACT government does not yet have a blanket policy for all of its buildings. The ACT government could catch up with or maybe even exceed the commonwealth. Green buildings are a potential growth area for the ACT because of their large number of government tenants, who, in the commonwealth's case at least, demand green buildings. Green building expertise is a potential export industry—at least to the rest of Australia—for the ACT because of the growing demand for more sustainable buildings. A commitment to at least five green stars for new buildings and a rolling program of refurbishment for existing buildings would be a good way for the ACT government to support this industry.
In conclusion, the Greens see that the ACT's economic future can be green. The government has a range of options to help get there. We call upon government, business and the community to support investment in our future to make it so.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (5.25): I am