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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 1041 ..

In speaking to the amendment, as I indicated in my speech on the question that Ms Bresnan’s motion be agreed to, the government supports making PM10 and PM2.5 levels publicly available on a daily or weekly basis. However, this must be subject to both resourcing and technical implications.

As I indicated in particular, PM2.5 levels can only be reported following detailed laboratory analysis. This means that there is necessarily a lag time between when they are recorded and when they can be reported. However, I am advised that with some adjustment to both the technology that is used and the resources available in relation to the recording of PM10, it may be possible to provide for that on a daily or weekly basis.

Currently, my department and the department of health, both of whom have responsibilities in this area, are giving consideration to how this can be done, subject to resourcing and technical implications. I would simply ask that the Assembly note that there is some constraint but it is the government’s intention to work towards achieving this type of real time or at least improved timeliness in relation to the disclosure of PM10 and PM2.5 levels.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (5.08): I would simply like to add a couple of points in support of Mr Corbell’s amendment and clarify my amendment. My amendment seeks to refine the motion put forward by the Greens and streamline the wording. We would much rather see a review of existing programs in place here and in other jurisdictions before taking any further steps in relation to this issue. We should not exclude anyone from being included in any consultation. It would seem silly to be so prescriptive in this regard. We also see it as very important to include comments from the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment in this motion, hence the inclusion of a new item in paragraph (1). The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Maxine Cooper, said today:

What we need to do with indoor wood heaters is really minimise their environmental impact, because in some instances from overall sustainability principles, it may be more appropriate to actually have wood heaters than other forms of heaters.

That is in the Canberra Times of 17 March 2010. Commissioner Cooper also said:

It does depend entirely upon a good-quality wood heater that burns very efficiently and also sourcing the right timbers …

As I have said previously, we need to investigate all the evidence and review existing programs in place to help reduce the wood smoke in the Tuggeranong Valley prior to any expansion of any programs. What we do not want to see is an overall replacement of indoor wood heaters with other inefficient heating systems that may produce similar or even worse environmental and financial impacts for users.

It is also important to note that the efficiencies of current wood heaters are something this motion does not address. It must be said that I do hold some concerns that this motion is a precursor to a move by the Greens to try and ban wood heaters altogether.

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