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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 May 2007) . . Page.. 806 ..

Environment—greenhouse gas emissions

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (11.10): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Commonwealth Government to work with the States and Territories to establish a national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme.

Mr Speaker, a very small window of opportunity has recently opened. Precisely how long it will remain open is uncertain, but what is absolutely certain is that, if we do not act collectively, intentionally and determinedly, the window will have closed and the opportunity to avert the looming environmental disaster will have left us. The issue is climate change, and the motion is our opportunity in this chamber to provide a very significant contribution to address the great challenge that lies before us.

It has been said that the federal government have been dragging their feet on this urgent issue. The government, and specifically the Prime Minister, are clearly sceptics on the matter of climate change, and by their nature conservatives tend to act slowly and at times painfully on matters of national and international importance. However, at this time I do not wish to highlight the mistakes or shortcomings of the federal government on this crucial issue. Rather, I wish to invite that government, through unanimous consensus of this chamber, to act now and join with the states and territories so that vital time and crucial resources are not wasted on duplication of processes and the reinvention of existing frameworks.

As Mr Hargreaves said in his recent media release on this matter, the commonwealth government simply must do more on climate change. He said:

Rising greenhouse gas emissions pose a significant threat to the social, environmental and economic welfare of ACT citizens, present and future. It is our responsibility to future generations to act now.

Without a doubt this is the big ticket item as far as the community is concerned and without fail week after week when I conduct my mobile offices people approach me about this issue.

Fortunately, I can report that the ACT is taking leadership in the region and on a number of fronts. The ACT government is serious about a sustainable ACT and its strategies on sustainability clearly identify the need to integrate this in all decision making, promote it within the community, develop indicators and reporting systems and establish partnerships.

It is the issue of partnerships that we are addressing today. Back in August 2006, before the Stern report hit the airwaves, long before the federal government woke up to the fact that there was anything to worry about, the ACT joined with the states and the Northern Territory to establish the National Emissions Trading Taskforce to develop a multi-jurisdictional emissions trading scheme for consideration by all the state and territory governments.

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