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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2739..


Mr Moore: What about publications?

MR STEFANIAK: That is what Mr Osborne was referring to when he referred to publications.

Housing Trust - Rent and Mortgage Payments

MR STEFANIAK: I table a reply to the question asked of me by Ms McRae yesterday.

OZONE PROTECTION (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995

Debate resumed from 23 November 1995, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MS HORODNY (3.21): Mr Speaker, it is hardly surprising that the Greens will be supporting this legislation. The thinning of the ozone layer is one of the most serious global environmental issues of this century and it is up to developed countries, such as Australia, to lead the way in banning substances which deplete ozone, and also to assist developing countries in finding alternatives to these ozone depleting substances. Another action we can all take is to avoid buying anything in polystyrene packaging or foam furniture.

The hole in the ozone layer continues to grow. It will reach a new record this year - 23 million square kilometres in size, about three times the area of Australia. The hole in the ozone layer starts forming every spring as the sun returns to the Antarctic. According to a recent report by the British Antarctic Survey, if ozone continues to disappear over the Antarctic at the same rate as is currently happening, there will be none left by spring in 2005. This would mean that UV radiation would be five times the present levels. This could have a serious impact on Antarctica's wildlife and its marine plankton and, as a consequence, on southern ocean fisheries as well. The impact on humans will also be serious. We are already hearing frightening figures about increasing rates of skin cancer. Eye diseases, such as cataracts, will also increase and there will be problems associated with suppression of the human immune system, not to mention that of other species as well.

Scientists first expressed fear more than 30 years ago that the ozone layer would be depleted due to increasing chemicals being released into the stratosphere, yet little attention was paid to them. It has taken 30 years of near inaction to come to a point where we in Australia will be taking real action to ban ozone depleting chemicals. Now we have reached a situation where we do not know for certain how long it would take for the ozone layer to recover even should the entire world stop using ozone depleting chemicals today. How little we know about the impact of changes to the atmosphere and the ability of the planet to cope with them is illustrated by a report in the Canberra Times yesterday. The CSIRO has discovered that the ability of the southern oceans to absorb the heat generated by the greenhouse effect is far less than previously expected.


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