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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3801 ..

Will the report include finer grained information which can be used by the many suburban and regional community organisations that are organising around climate change and sustainability issues.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Maxine Cooper, has taken up her position.

A detailed assessment of the duties encompassing the expanded role of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment is being developed. The Commissioner—Dr Maxine Cooper—will be finalising the functions of the office shortly. As legislative changes may be required to the Commissioner for the Environment Act 1993 the current legislative duties of State of the Environment reporting and investigations will continue.

The expansion of the role does strengthen opportunities for addressing complaints.

The Commissioner, Dr Maxine Cooper, has been appointed to the enhanced role of Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment with well-established professional credentials. Her previous positions in operational areas of the ACT Government have included roles that required an arm’s length decision-making process. For example the Conservator of Flora and Fauna and Animal Welfare Authority roles were undertaken by Dr Cooper. The Commissioner’s role under current and future legislation will ensure that independence is maintained for the office and its functions.

I am happy to provide a copy of the report to members upon request.

The 2007 ACT State of the Environment (SoE) Report is planned for release by the end of March 2008.

The 2007 ACT SoE Report will have a chapter on progress towards sustainability.

Sustainability was assessed in the 2004 SoE Report using the National Headline Indicators. These indicators will be used in the 2007 report, with the addition of ecological footprint measures provided by the Department of Territory and Municipal Services.

The process for preparing the SoE report is identical to that of the 2003 report. The Commissioner’s Office will be using expert reference groups for each of the Themes covered in the report, namely Air, Biodiversity, Human Settlement, Land and Water (Catchments) and Sustainability. For the 2007 report the office will use the services of honorary expert members to work with the Commissioner. The composition of each group is not yet final. It is anticipated this will occur by mid-November 2007.

Data sources for the ACT 2007 SoE Report are varied. Sources come from within the ACT Government, the Commonwealth Government, universities, non-government organisations and business. The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment has not commissioned new data for SoE reports; it has relied on data of others. An update of the ecological footprint for the ACT that was originally reported in the ACT Government’s Measuring Our Progress - Canberra’s Journey Towards Sustainability will be sourced from the Department of Territory and Municipal Services. This update will then be included in the SoE Report.

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