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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 7 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 2869..


because Ms Burch said it is only three cups of coffee a week. So you have got $500 to cover all of those costs. That has got to take into account childcare. Curse you if you want to go out and work: the cost of childcare is the highest in the country. You have only got to do a quick sum like that to know that living in Canberra is not as easy as it used to be. Why is it not easy? Because we have got a federal government that cannot run a budget and we have got an ACT government that cannot run a budget.

I go back to where I started. This budget is a fraud. It is a fraud visited upon the community posing as tax reform. We are told that the tax will be abolished. Yet if you look at the chart, the tax keeps going up. (Time expired.)

Visitor

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Members, before we continue, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of former member, Helen Cross.

Appropriation Bill 2012-2013

Debate resumed.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.03): I am grateful for the opportunity to respond to this year's budget and, in particular, its implications for the climate, environment and justice and community safety.

Whilst a number of important environmental measures have been maintained or introduced in this year's budget, as Ms Hunter touched on, the budget's numerous cuts to climate and environment initiatives represent a missed opportunity to build a more sustainable and prosperous Canberra. Too often the environment is overlooked when a budget goes into deficit, yet, ironically, strong investment in conservation is one of the best ways to create jobs and savings.

Consider the jobs created by managing pest species, properly maintaining and protecting our nature reserves and water catchments, investing in renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency. It is easy to buy the mainstream rhetoric that investing in the environment is somehow a sacrifice and an expensive thing to do when in fact the benefits—ecological, social and economic—far outweigh the cost.

Contrary to popular belief, these benefits are not only felt into the future but can be enjoyed today. Consider the average $305 savings in energy bills per household that the government's new energy efficiency scheme will deliver. Or consider the aesthetic and biodiversity benefits that the urban wetlands are already contributing to our suburbs and the further reduction in bills that supporting households to invest in onsite renewable energy will generate. All of these examples illustrate that, increasingly, the world is waking up to the fact that by doing good by the environment also does good by the economy and society.

With this in mind, I would like to turn to the substance of the budget and reflect on some of the key climate and environment issues it raises. Let me first turn to climate change. We are pleased to see the government has expanded its resource management


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