Page 451 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

say, will lead to a richer and cheaper lifestyle—if you can have both of those things in a mixed metaphor in one sentence! My family found that we spent much less money. We worked out what we valued, and we did more of that. We cut out the junk and we thought hard about some things—things that a lot of people in our society have known for a long time are high-impact activities, but which the government and the economy have not made much effort to focus attention on.

Flights have a really high impact. Food waste has a really high impact, and using different types of food can give us much better meals and better health while having a much lower impact. The Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment highlighted the general consumption of stuff. She looked at our built environment, what we build our buildings with, what we wear, the clothing we buy and the food we buy. All of that stuff has a big impact. The good news is that any carbon calculator will probably, first and foremost, follow the hierarchy that we know is established in this field, which is that first of all you avoid, you reduce and then you run through a whole lot of ways to swap out, look at what you need and what you do not need, and look at better options. At the very bottom of that hierarchy you think about offsetting. It is really important that we make sure that we guide people through that sensible hierarchy and that we help people avoid creating the carbon in the first place and run through good decision making.

It is also important that we remember that we need a just transition as we move into a cleaner and greener economy. This is a bit of a restructure. We are changing our lifestyles and our consumption patterns, and we need to bring people along. We need to make sure that everybody can afford a realistic and reasonable lifestyle as we do that, and we need to help people understand so that they can plan for the future. It is about making smart choices and just transitions. As with our gas, it is about replacing old appliances with new electric ones. As with our transport, it is about thinking ahead and making the smart choice about the right type of zero emissions transport for you when it is time to make that choice. So it is really good to do some forward planning on this.

I am happy to see this. I am doing a bit of work on the circular economy this year, and I am pleased to start talking about general consumption, and, in a realistic way, talking about the impact Canberrans have as a fairly wealthy, high-consumer city, because it is quite important that we link all of these things together and make sure that as we solve one environmental problem, we are not simply creating another environmental problem. It is really important that we help people make good choices that link things together and create a truly circular economy.

Now, it will be good if we can provide some useful information to the business community and make sure that we are putting that together in a smart way that fits in with government policies. It will be really important to make sure that we are always going back to first principles and giving people sensible policy choices rather than greenwashing. There is a bit of temptation in this area to give people quick and easy answers, and it is really important to help them through the journey, but I am genuinely confident that we can help every business in Canberra that wants to participate to massively reduce their footprint. I suspect that most of them will end up saving money and finding out that they have better ways to do the things now.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video