Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 336..
MS HUNTER (continuing):
Therefore, my question to the Chief Minister is: can you advise the Assembly of the actions you have taken to raise these concerns with the federal government, particularly with the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible for climate change? What course of action have you proposed to address this potential negative impact?
MR STANHOPE: One thing that I have done, subject to the support and agreement of the Liberal Party and the Greens tonight, is establish, for the first time in the ACT's history, a Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Water and Energy and appointed a most capable minister to head that department; so I will ask him to respond to your question as the appropriate and relevant minister.
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. Yes, the government is aware of the concerns raised by Dr Dennis from the Australia Institute. I have read with
interest his comments on this matter. He is right to identify this as a potential flaw in the proposed trading scheme.
The Council of Australian Governments resolved, at its meeting only in the last week or so, that on the agenda next year would be a more detailed discussion by, firstly, ministers on climate change matters generally. I would anticipate as part of that discussion the ACT would be able to put its views in relation to any potential flaws that exist in the government's proposed trading scheme. Obviously we have yet to see the full details of their proposed scheme. I understand that it probably going to be announced next week. We look forward to seeing the details of that and to be in a position to provide more detailed comment on it.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?
MS HUNTER: The next question was about taking those issues up to COAG.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, no preamble—straight to the question, please.
MS HUNTER: Will the minister for climate change be taking a strong case around these flaws in the emissions trading scheme to the federal minister for climate change?
MR CORBELL: I guess the short answer is yes, I will be endeavouring to raise this matter with my counterpart in the federal government, and the Chief Minister and Treasurer I am confident will take a similar approach when COAG meets in the new year. As I said, one of the main agenda items for one of the two scheduled COAG meetings next year is climate change and so the emissions trading regime will be on that agenda.
I am currently seeking advice from my department on the range of issues that the Australia Institute is raising. In particular, there is a real concern that if some jurisdictions or some participants in a trading scheme reduce their emissions does that simply free up other polluters to pollute more? That is a very legitimate and sensible critique that deserves further investigation by the ACT as we look at the implications of adopting a target ourselves that may—may—go beyond a target established by the federal government in terms of emissions reduction. But equally I do not think it