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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1618..


MS LE COUTEUR (continuing):

I noticed that the most recent meeting of the Ministerial Council on Energy, in February, was preoccupied, understandably, with the intricacies of the carbon pollution reduction scheme and the impacts of the global financial crisis. It did not actually discuss the hot-water energy efficiency measures which it has been promising. So I am concerned that it is possible that these initiatives could slip down the agenda again.

I note also that a considerable portion of the ACT government's weathering the change climate strategy relies on work being undertaken at the commonwealth level. As I have said, we are very concerned to see that environmental initiatives go ahead at the ACT and national level, but sometimes we cannot just wait for things to happen at the national level. Climate change in particular is an area where we know we cannot afford to delay. There are benefits from having cooperative arrangements between states, but they can be problematic. Getting agreement can be so difficult that we end up with a lowest common denominator approach.

I understand that the Building Code of Australia board may produce draft guidelines for a hot-water system standard for new houses in the next few weeks. I expect that if this has not happened by the time we debate this bill in, I guess, May, the government will show its commitment to energy efficiency measures by passing my bill in its current form. It might also wish to pass the bill with a delayed start date to concur with the current national timeline. A postponed start date would also set a deadline for when this would happen in the ACT if the national process does not in fact commence.

However, I note that my bill also relates to hot-water services in existing homes, which the Building Code of Australia guidelines will not cover. If necessary, my bill could be amended to remove the potentially redundant clauses relating to installing systems in new homes. This would leave in place the parts relating to the phase-out of inefficient systems in existing homes. I am very happy to discuss this when we see the guidelines for a hot-water standard from the BCA.

In summary, I am saying that we need strong energy efficiency measures if we are going to respond properly to climate change. In the absence, unfortunately, of action at the national level, the ACT needs to act. Enacting my bill will return the ACT to the status of a leading jurisdiction. It will help set a standard for other states, and it will set a standard for the Ministerial Council on Energy to follow. It will bring immediate environmental benefits to the ACT and it will bring immediate financial benefits to residents of the ACT. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Kippax family practice

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.39): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that the abrupt closure of the Kippax Family Practice has caused significant concern and disruption to staff and patients and the local community; and


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