Page 2937 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022
I acknowledge also that there are irreconcilable differences in relation to the outcomes being sought through the petitions that were tabled yesterday.
I acknowledge that I have an in-principle objection and I will never support mandatory sentencing, or indeed a US-style approach to the appointment of judicial officers. I have been clear on that, and I would not seek to sack the Attorney-General in the terms in which the petition asked me to do, and I was very clear about that yesterday.
What the Assembly resolved in the policy debate in the afternoon, that I referred to in my remarks yesterday, sets a pathway forward. I understand that ministers will continue the work that they have already started to address some of the concerns that have been raised. But, as has been extensively canvassed, there is not universal agreement on this matter. I acknowledge that, but I also stand by the principles on which I stood for this place, and have been elected to this place on multiple occasions. So I cannot support what was contained within those petitions.
MR DAVIS: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Minister, on 8 June this year the Assembly unanimously supported my motion calling on the ACT government to reform the wood heater replacement scheme to improve uptake and access to the scheme and eliminate up-front costs for the scheme, particularly for low income households. Can you please provide an update on the work being done to reform the wood heater replacement scheme?
MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Mr Davis, for the question. It was a really useful motion and it was great to see the Assembly support the motion. EPSDD are currently investigating and will be presenting a paper next month that outlines some of the options for improvements to the existing program, particularly a small trial for low income households, looking at costs and timing.
The options in the trial will include a waiver, to reduce up-front costs for low income households, including those living in rental accommodation such as public and community housing, and looking at adjustments to the current or incoming programs. This is really important, because we do know that a recent community survey found that the most common reason by far for keeping a wood fire is ambience. Wood heaters are also seen as low cost heating by some.
Secondly, we have also reviewed and retargeted the promotion of the wood fire replacement program. This campaign has been really successful this winter. Some of the results, to date, include seeing an increase in applications for the program this year to 24 applications during the campaign period, compared with five from the same time last year. In addition we have seen a 904 per cent increase in traffic to the Burn Right Tonight website. We also saw a 255 per cent increase in the website traffic to the Wood Heater Replacement Program during the campaign.
MR DAVIS: Minister, can you elaborate further on the government’s findings from the recent YourSay panel survey relating to wood heaters and the effects of wood smoke?