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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3892..

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That Mr Pratt's motion be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 7

Noes 8

Mrs Dunne

Mr Seselja

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Dr Foskey

Mr Smyth

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Ms Porter

Mr Pratt

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Question so resolved in the negative.

Schools—environmental sustainability

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms Porter and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Dr Foskey be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The vital role played by local schools and neighbourhood centres in environmental sustainability and community development and cohesion.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.52): I chose to talk about this topic because the issue of climate change as well as other environment issues, most of which have been rolled into the one heading of climate change in this current political climate, demand local as well as global solutions. I think we need to start thinking through ways of approaching this very serious problem.

At the global level there is work to be done in developing international conventions, agreements and negotiations, and we know from the progress of the Kyoto protocol that that is no easy thing. The Kyoto protocol was developed in the early 1990s at a very early stage of the understanding of the science of climate change and is considered now by most scientists and environmentalists to be quite inadequate to tackle the problem. Nonetheless, as we all know, global negotiations, as with other negotiations, often end up in a less than perfect agreement, and, for better or worse, the Kyoto protocol is what we have until we have something better.

At the government level there is the job of setting a policy framework for action, for gathering data and for setting time lines and targets for emission reductions. Had there been time yesterday, I would have moved a motion in those terms. Of course, if the federal government had signed up to the Kyoto protocol, it would have been mandatory upon the ACT government to do just that. But, as we know, the federal government has not done that, which makes it a voluntary thing for this government and something it could do in the spirit of concern about the issue.

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