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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 3993..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

real problem with public transport. This minister is not interested in innovation and introducing change in public transport, and this is a shameful day.

Motion negatived.

Environmentally sustainable solutions

Discussion of matter of public importance

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

The importance of delivering environmentally sustainable solutions for the ACT community.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (3.47): Mr Speaker, Australia and the globe are experiencing rapid climate change and face major environmental challenges. Since the middle of the 20th century Australian temperatures have, on average, risen by about one degree centigrade, with an increase in the frequency of heatwaves and a decrease in the number of frosts and cold days. We are all aware that rainfall patterns have also changed. The north-west has seen an increase in rainfall over the past 50 years while much of eastern Australia and the far south-west have experienced a decline.

Environmental sustainability is a significant global issue that requires a strategic approach from all levels of government, the business sector and the community. The ACT government has recognised that a strategic approach is required, as evidenced through its commitment to environmental sustainability and climate change. The government is an active supporter of and participant in national initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is preparing the community to cope with climate impacts that are already occurring.

The ACT participates on several COAG working groups for climate change and intends to adopt many recommendations in its own climate change strategy that is scheduled to be released for public consultation early in 2007. The new climate change strategy will build on initiatives under the current greenhouse strategy, with a number of new initiatives focused on not only abatement measures but also the very important aspect of adaptation.

The government has done more than talk. Significant emission reduction programs are already in place. In 2005 the ACT joined with New South Wales in the development of a greenhouse gas abatement scheme. This scheme requires retailers of electricity, which is the source of more than 60 per cent of ACT emissions, to supply an increasing percentage of their product each year from cleaner and greener generation sources. In its first year of operation the ACT component of the scheme achieved emission savings of 316,360 tonnes, which is the equivalent of taking 73,570 vehicles off ACT roads for a year. Steadily increasing targets mandated in legislation will result in annual per capita emissions being reduced by more than eight per cent by 2008.

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