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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2530..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

I have moved this motion today because it is very disturbing that the government is contemplating moving away from the greenhouse targets set in 1999, and because there has not been nearly enough commitment on the part of this government, or indeed previous governments, to do the work necessary to achieve the target. The first part of my motion would recommit the territory to meeting the targets set in 1999.

I believe it is important to reaffirm this commitment at this time. I understand from the minister's office that they will be moving to amend this to say "reconsider". Let me put my case for sticking to the targets at this stage. If we had seen a large amount of effort-some spending but primarily effort-to attempt to meet this target, that would be one thing, but we have not seen that. I refer to the May 2000 review of the ACT Greenhouse Strategy by Energy Strategies. It says:

The ACT should be able to reach its emissions target by fully implementing the measures which have been quantified.

It was reaffirmed today by Energy Strategies that they are still of that view. In discussion leading to this recommendation, the reviewers recommended the implementation of a range of measures, some unquantified at that point. Their assessment was that, together, the measures would result in a capacity to meet targets. It has been quite clear for some time that action is needed. The review is already much later than it was supposed to be-2002 was the review date. Here we are in mid-2004 and the review process is still grinding along. Meanwhile, what significant new measures have been undertaken? How well staffed is the greenhouse section of Environment ACT? How much has the ACT government done towards cleaning up its own act? How has the government funded the work?

The minister has said a number of times recently that the government is seriously considering moving away from the targets. Problems raised include the difficulty of dealing with the Commonwealth sector, over which we have no control. At other times it is because it has become apparent that the 1998 emission level, which is the basis for the target, was lower than originally understood. On the first point the Commonwealth sector could be isolated in counting from the rest of the ACT. However, I note also that the Commonwealth has been much more active in pursuing energy efficiency measures than has the ACT government. This is commented on in the Energy Strategies report. Although we do not have control over the Commonwealth, we know that the Commonwealth is doing more than we are.

On the second point, as I have said, the reviewer of the strategy last year still believed it was possible to meet the target. It is also important to note that, as our energy consumption continues to rise, and as the minister said in the paper today, the ACT used 40 per cent more electricity in 2001-02 than the national average. We are not doing even the most basic things. It is wrong to shift the target when we have not made a real effort. This is why I have moved this motion. It is clear that the government has not focused sufficiently on the need to take concerted action. Mr Stanhope has himself acknowledged that in answers to questions from me over the last year or so. It is very good news that the government has been working on benchmarking. We are pleased to hear that that is happening, rather than its being an ongoing matter for discussion.


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