Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4431..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
government, whoever that might be, and the next minister, whoever that might be, to follow that through: to talk to and work with New South Wales on a number of fronts. As Mrs Dunne pointed out, this is early stage stuff. We do not need to start constricting it and putting rules around it trying to tighten it up. It is a great step. This is a good thing. Let us just do it.
MS DUNDAS (10.50): The Democrats are happy to support this amendment. We see the benefit of having an independent review of our progress towards a sustainable level of greenhouse gas emissions, especially when the government has dragged the chain on action to address climate change and how it impacts on the ACT.
We have waited and waited for a greenhouse strategy and, while we have waited, we have seen only limited and piecemeal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We still do not have energy standards for commercial buildings. We still have thousands of public housing dwellings with inadequate insulation and we do not have sustainable transport properly integrated into our planning decisions.
A review that will look at our electricity sector, which accounts for the majority of our emissions, may well stir the government to take further action. It will alert the government if interstate targets have overtaken the benchmarks that the territory has set. Considering that it is an independent review to take place before the end of 2006, it is a very important but simple mechanism. I hope that the Assembly supports this amendment.
MRS DUNNE (10.52): The Liberal opposition will not support this amendment. If we sign up to this scheme in its present form, we really have to sign up, as I said, to working cooperatively with New South Wales. I understand all the points. I agree with every point that Ms Dundas made. We have a long way to go before having suitable public housing and an integrated transport strategy. We do not have integrated land management and transport planning. All of these things-if we got our act together and did something about it-would address these issues.
This bill is not a panacea; it is not a cure-all; it is not the answer for everything: it is a start. If we have decided that we will hitch our wagon to New South Wales, that is the right path to take. We should not be re-inventing the wheel. We have a commitment from the minister to work cooperatively with New South Wales. New South Wales and the state based energy ministers have been working cooperatively on this.
A lot of this is designed to be "one in the eye" for the federal government. I have some sympathy with that. While it is very important that we address the cleanliness of the coal industry-we will get most bang for our buck there-we also have to look at our renewables in a much more open way. But this is not the mechanism for doing it.
This is part of the process. At this stage we should be going with this. In concert with the people who have designed it-because we did not; it was somebody else-we should be working through those processes. I am confident that whoever is minister for environment-certainly I will if I am-will be working in concert with New South Wales to make the scheme better.