Page 910 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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In a first for Australia, the new Canberra Hospital expansion critical services building will be an all-electric building, powered by the ACT’s renewably sourced energy. This aligns with the territory’s Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 that included actions to ensure that newly built government buildings are all electric and on the pathway to zero emissions, as well as specifically to reduce emissions from ACT health facilities. These new facilities will build on the substantial emission reductions Canberra Health Services has achieved—23 per cent since 2019—while responding to increasing healthcare service delivery needs, supporting the ACT government’s commitment to achieving a zero emissions health sector by 2040.

Being part of the solution is important for all of us. I know that many of the healthcare professionals, catering staff, cleaners, administration staff and managers in our hospital will be very happy to know that their workplace is providing quality clinical care for our community while also reducing carbon emissions.

We are also listening to the community when they talk about the mental wellbeing impacts they are experiencing as a result of our changing world. Our focus on prevention and early intervention, and on the delivery of services in the community, means that we can support each other to solve problems sooner and closer to home. The increased funding provided in the most recent ACT budget, as well as the bilateral agreement with the commonwealth that I spoke about on Tuesday, provides significant funding for services with that early intervention focus, delivered in community settings and working with our community sector partners, as well as delivery through Canberra Health Services.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent the mental health impacts of climate change is to save the planet, so I am very happy to be part of an ACT government that works to reduce carbon emissions in every area, including the challenges we face in healthcare services. We would not be in a position to do this work without the decades of Greens who have come before me in this place and who I work with today on good, evidence-based policy development.

Most of all, I am thankful to be part of a Canberra community who work together across sectors and interests, including our hardworking public service, to find solutions to our shared challenges in this changing world and make sure that they are implemented well. I support the motion.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (11.45): I am very pleased to speak on this motion moved by Minister Stephen-Smith today. We know that climate change is real and one of the main contributors to climate change is transport emissions, which now make up 63 per cent of emissions in the ACT. That is also the third leading cause of emissions in Australia; just under 20 per cent comes from transport.

We need to tackle this issue. It has real health impacts. Air quality affects people’s health. We know that because there have been significant regulations in a range of different countries right around the world to regulate emissions standards for new vehicles to make sure that the vehicles that are driven on our roads have to meet the requirements of those stringent standards.

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