Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3142 ..
we actually do care. When we say we are going to act, they want to know that we really are going to act, and we have that opportunity in the coming months.
I have talked before about the kinds of programs and policies that the Greens would like to see implemented to drive us towards a more energy efficient city. I feel as though we are still in somewhat of a hiatus on this policy debate as we await the government’s energy policy. I sense that the government is going to have more coming down the pipe than it currently has going on. I certainly hope so.
What we would like to see is not just a greenhouse target but a comprehensive scheme that drives energy efficiency improvements across the city, standards that improve energy efficiency in old and new buildings, increased purchase of renewable energy by residents, businesses and governments and increased generation of renewable energy on a small and large scale.
While I remain an optimist about what we can do and what people are prepared to do, we still have quite some way to go, so we cannot be too frequent to claim systemic change when we are just tweaking around the edges. As an example, the minister was not only extolling the greenness of the government through its purchase of more green energy than any other government in Australia, but he also noted that the ACT public now consume around 118,987 megawatt hours of green energy each year. I congratulate those people who are doing that. Make no mistake, they are the early adopters, the people who care, those who are prepared to put their money where their mouths are on climate change.
The figure of 118,987 megawatt sounds impressive, until you remember that the ACT consumes around 2,800 gigawatt hours of electricity each year. Our green energy purchase is only a small percentage of that amount. I am not using this to say that it is pointless and that people should not make that choice to buy green power. In fact, quite the contrary—we should be doing more. My point is: what can we do as legislators to further encourage a much broader uptake of renewable energy by consumers right across the territory, because this is part of what are going to need to figure out. I will continue in my comments later in the debate.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.36): I will touch on some of the issues in this portfolio. Firstly, a few issues raised in the dissenting comments in relation to the estimates committee I think need to be addressed.
I am sorry that it makes me sound like a cracked record, but the unconscionable delay in the review of the Nature Conservation Act has to be commented upon again. This was an election commitment in 2004 made by the ACT government. The government committed itself to complete a review of the Nature Conservation Act by 2008. But here we are at the beginning of the financial year 2010-11. We were told by the minister that there would be a discussion paper on this matter released shortly and that some time in the next financial year—one presumes, therefore, in the calendar year 2011—we would see a completion of this process. We are 5½ years into a process that will take, by my calculations, possibly another 18 months. Seven years to complete what was supposed to be a four-year commitment, on something that was well overdue when the commitment was originally made, is unconscionable.