Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 August 2022) . . Page.. 2393 ..
MS CASTLEY: Minister, can you guarantee this school will be big enough given Margaret Hendry School had to expand less than four years after opening?
MS BERRY: Margaret Hendry School was always going to be expanding. It was always a school that had been built with land available for future expansion, because of the growth we know that is happening in the Gungahlin community. That is exactly why the planning work is happening now on the new college for Gungahlin, with a proposed site in Gold Creek. We have had very good feedback—very positive feedback—from the Gungahlin community, and I look forward to those continued consultations with the Gungahlin community on the future of that school.
Government—greenhouse gas emissions reduction
MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction. Minister, I was pleased to hear earlier today your announcement about Canberra’s pathway to electrification. It was great to be part of the Greens campaign calling for an EV policy and a policy to get off gas. I remember that we were the only major party that took those to the last election. There has been a lot of commentary and confusion about whether Australia needs green hydrogen, whether we need biofuel, whether methane gas is a transition fuel, whether we need fossil fuel hydrogen, or whether we can go straight to 100 per cent renewable energy at this stage. Can you talk me through how we got to today’s announcement and what it means?
MR RATTENBURY: Ms Clay’s question highlights the complexity of some of these discussions. It touches on the fundamental importance of it; that is, to get to net zero emissions we need to systematically work our way through each of these sources of emissions and eliminate them from our day-to-day lives.
I am very pleased to have worked with the Chief Minister on today’s announcement, which is to signal to our community that the era of fossil fuel gas use in the ACT is coming to an end. We have been very clear that this will be an orderly transition over the coming decades. To get to net zero emissions by 2045, we will need to cut 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions that currently come from fossil fuel gas use out of our system.
We have decided, as a government, on an electrification pathway. Over the last 12 to 18 months there has been extensive analysis done on what is the right pathway. It has made it clear that neither hydrogen nor biogas are viable alternatives for the ACT. Electrification has been identified as the most cost-effective and technically feasible pathway.
A lot of people in the community think that maybe hydrogen will be the answer. We do see roles for hydrogen and biogas, but we see them as niche applications. They will be used for particular industrial purposes, possibly transport purposes, but we will not see them being piped out across the suburbs in the way that fossil fuel gas, natural gas, currently is.
What is not understood by many people is that if we were to do that, we actually have to change over the whole system. The devices at the other end, be it your hot-water