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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2198..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

I would like to touch upon one of the better aspects of being a member, the opportunities that come to bring you into contact with truly remarkable, extraordinary people. In the last Assembly it was my privilege to attempt an inquiry into renewable energy in the ACT, which unfortunately was not particularly supported by the Labor Party at the time.

In many ways the inquiry was far more ambitious than the resources of an overstretched planning and environment committee. In the course of dealing with the inquiry into renewable energy I met some fantastic people. I was thinking about this over the weekend when I was reviewing the Stateline program, where Dr Andy Blakers was extolling the virtues of his revolutionary sliver cell solar technology.

I was thinking how fantastic it must be to be an innovator of that sort, how fantastic it was for me to visit Dr Blakers' laboratory on one occasion, how exciting it is to see such innovation, how Canberra should be proud of it and how I think it is unfortunate that short-sightedness on the part of governments of all sorts means that we are not taking advantage of the huge solar technology innovation we have in this town. For too long people have thought that the importance of renewable technology that does not produce greenhouse gases is unimportant, or that they can put all their eggs in one basket and concentrate on something like clean coal or geosequestration.

I think we are coming to the situation, as Dr Blakers said to me the other day, where people have started to realise that there is no silver bullet when it comes to addressing greenhouse gases, that there needs to be a multiplicity of solutions. I hope this means that governments of all sorts and at all levels will start to appreciate the work being done by people like Dr Blakers, who is not just an innovative scientist but also an innovative thinker in areas of greenhouse policy. Many of his colleagues at the ANU are doing great work in improving our capacity to produce energy without the unnecessary by-product of greenhouse gases.

Canberra Hospital-pay parking

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.09): I rise to express my concern that the government has proceeded, with effect yesterday, with their pay parking plans for the Canberra Hospital. I remind the house that, for a confusing assessment of what that revenue will rein in for the government-somewhere between $600,000 and $1 million, depending on who you speak to this week or next week-the government has imposed a regime that will mean a very extensive amount of disruption for a lot of people who rely on being able to get conveniently and comfortably to the Canberra Hospital to see their loved ones or to access services in the hospital precinct.

Not only do we have the problem that medical students studying full time-because most medical students have to study full time-are only able to attract an annual revenue of $8,000-odd; they will also now have to pay up to five per cent of their annual income for parking at the hospital. I think it is a very tough call for a student to have to pay up to five per cent of their annual income on parking, but that is what it is going to mean for them. They will not be exempt under this government's policy on the requirements of pay parking at Canberra Hospital.


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