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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3624 ..

ACT. It is incumbent on the government to manage subsequent regulations with care to ensure that any shonky operators who may be out there either leave the industry or improve their skills.

It is incumbent upon the government to ensure that the public is informed about their rights, how the public become aware that they should seek out a licensed assessor or, indeed, that they can now seek out a licensed assessor when organising an assessment, and how the public will be aware of the correct way to lodge a complaint about a potentially shonky operator.

The government has a poor record at best when it comes to regulating business, especially small businesses. One needs to look no further than the hospitality industry where the government is attempting to strangle outdoor cafes in red tape. Let us hope that this industry is not strangled in red tape now the government has legislated to license energy efficiency assessors.

Ms Le Couteur has indicated earlier this week to my office that she is intending to move amendments to this bill. While we understand the intent of the amendments, at this stage we will be supporting one of the amendments and not the other two. In summary, the Canberra Liberals will support this bill. We will, however, pay careful attention to its implementation. We will continue to consult with industry to ensure that regulations in this area are implemented efficiently and sensibly.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.13): The Greens will be supporting the Construction Occupations Legislation Amendment Bill before us today. This bill comes 11 years after the Greens introduced the energy efficiency rating assessment laws in the ACT and it will mean that the territory will again become a leading—hopefully, the leading—jurisdiction in energy efficiency ratings in Australia.

Houses with higher energy efficiency ratings save money for the occupants every day, as well as being more comfortable to live in. They are warmer in the winter and they are cooler in the summer. Because they use less energy, they have lower greenhouse gas emissions; so they are better for the environment which we all share. All in all, better houses are a better thing.

Studies by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have shown that people will pay as much as $10,000 for a house with each additional energy efficiency star. Another reason that we need to ensure that energy efficiency ratings are accurate is to protect homebuyers. People need to know that they are getting what they are paying for. The really good news is that if your house is well designed, it will cost a lot less than $10,000 for each additional energy efficiency rating star. In fact, it may cost you nothing more. All you may have to do is ensure that your house is orientated to the north.

In this context I will also say that the Greens are pleased with the government’s recent significant step in the direction of passive solar orientation for all new residential homes and subdivisions. Draft territory plan variation 301, the residential subdivision code, mandates that 95 per cent of blocks must have reasonable solar orientation. This will enable houses to be built which are genuinely solar passive because the blocks will be orientated correctly.

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