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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3139 ..

This goes to the point we have been making across the board in relation to this budget: there is no detail. When we ask for detail, when we drill down for detail, they simply refuse to give it. We know they must have it. It is revealed in questions on notice 260 and 261. They have gone ahead and done it; they are cutting the consultancy budget by $108,000 and they are cutting the travel budget by $10,000, but when we ask them, they say, “Well, we haven’t done our internal budgets.”

Mrs Dunne: So how do they know?

MR SESELJA: How do they know? Again, they have caught themselves out by being cute. The minister is being cute on this and, in the end, he is showing contempt for the Assembly. He is showing complete contempt in his refusal to answer basic questions. He has been caught out by the fact that he has shown that they have done some internal budgets. They just will not share them with us. They will not share the internal budgets. They will not tell us what they are so that we can make our own judgements. Mr Assistant Speaker, I will not take my second 10 minutes now; we may well come back to this later.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.26): Obviously the Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water is one close to my heart, as the work they do is work that I believe is so important to our future here in Canberra. They are a small department with a relatively small budget, and their main focus is to nut out the policy solutions for our natural environment, our energy future and our response to climate change.

Since the department was created, I know that they have been working hard to develop solutions. To be honest, I am expecting big things from them this year. We are expecting to see the government’s sustainable energy policy; greenhouse targets, an extended feed-in tariff; action plan 2 for weathering the change; a substantial piece of energy efficiency legislation that sets targets for retailers; a review of the Nature Conservation Act, at last; a review of think water, act water; and a review of the waste strategy. Many of these things are interlinked, and certainly all of them are important.

As I flagged in my speech on this a few weeks back when the budget was first tabled, the department has struggled to meet its anticipated outcomes this year. Progress on the energy policy has been slow, and the department’s policy branch failed to deliver 50 per cent of its strategic objectives in the 2009-10 financial year. There is no doubt that the extra funding for departmental staff is welcome. That new funding only translates into three new staff positions on climate change initiatives and one on water, and I suspect the department has just as much if not more work to get through this year. Against a backdrop of a tight budget with little new spending, it is at least good to be moving in the right direction.

The three extra climate change staff will be allocated to implementing national energy policies, ACT energy efficiency initiatives—which is presumably the retailer legislation—and one person will be working on the government’s carbon neutrality ambition, which will be framed around a short-term 2020 target and the road map to 2060.

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