Page 241 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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Roads—emissions reductions

MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. Minister, in September last year I sent you and other ministers a letter about the William Hovell Drive duplication. I raised several community concerns, including the climate impact this major road duplication has. More roads mean more cars, and that means more climate emissions. There are also scope 3 embedded emissions in roads. What work has been done through the planning process with the environmental impact statement and other tools to assess the full climate impact of the William Hovell Drive duplication?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Clay for the question. It is an important one as we go forward looking at reducing emissions across the territory and moving to zero emissions at some point into the future. It is one that is considered by the planning authority whenever they look at an environmental impact study. In particular, they are looking at one at the moment for William Hovell Drive, so unfortunately I will not be able to comment any further on that piece of work. But I can tell the Assembly that generally the EPSDD directorate looks at emissions for future planning for Canberra and, indeed, so do we as a cabinet.

I brought to the cabinet in 2018 the minister’s statement of planning intent looking at the future direction of planning for the ACT. Of course, this is where we have moved our direction from urban sprawl into a denser city along transport corridors and around town centres. This means, of course, that we can address transport emissions and those that are embedded in the construction of roads into the future and reduce those wherever possible.

MS CLAY: Will the new planning system consider our emissions reduction targets and ensure scope 1 and scope 3 emissions are factored into all of our decision-making on development?

MR GENTLEMAN: I am proud of the steps that we have taken to ensure we are building a sustainable city and the transition that is occurring towards zero net emissions, as I mentioned. We do this in a sensible way that protects and grows jobs as well. The new reform for the planning act will indeed look at this subject. For example, where an EIS is required for a project, information needs to be provided on how the proposal will reduce the risk from climate change impacts and include proposed adaptation measures to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience on the community in the territory, particularly in extreme events of heatwaves, droughts, storms, flash flooding and bushfires as well. We are embedding that in the planning system for future decisions.

On scope 3, the best efficient way to account for the impacts of climate change and to achieve zero net emissions is by pricing carbon nationally. Unfortunately, the federal Liberals are hopeless at this. In their absence, this Labor government has been acting. We have been leading the action at the sub-national level to ensure that we fight hard to tackle climate change into the future, and the planning system changes are playing that role.

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