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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4646 ..


In this time of economic uncertainty, one of the few good news stories is the continued prospects for the growth of green industries. Strong action on climate change will promote green jobs and green businesses and help secure Australia’s economic prosperity.

The ACT is arguably Australia’s leading jurisdiction when it comes to the provision of education. Not only does education directly generate jobs, it gives us the capacity to generate green jobs second to none. Jobs in new industries will, of course, involve learning new skills. Equally, the transition of current industries to new, more sustainable practices will involve significant upskilling for many in our community.

We are a knowledge-based economy and we should be investing in our strengths. Improvements to our IT infrastructure and capacity are in the ACT’s economic interests and will allow us to participate in the knowledge economy and capitalise on our educational resources. I should reiterate the point that our educational institutions make a significant contribution to our economic prosperity and the Greens’ view is that greater investment in education will lead to more sustainable, long-term economic prosperity.

There are tremendous opportunities for new initiatives and economic creativity. The most notable current example of a new initiative to diversify the ACT economy—and Mr Smyth has just spent some time talking about the importance of diversifying the ACT economy—is the feed-in tariff. I think it is very unfortunate that some in the Assembly appear not to be able to see past some of the superficial figures that do not offer any qualitative evaluation. We need to ask them what value they place on all the jobs that have been created installing solar panels. What value do they place on the fact that the feed-in tariff offers us an electricity supply at a set price for 20 years? It is simply not conceivable that coal-fired power will cost less than the current premium price in 20 years time. What value do they place on all the research and development that will go into solar energy generation as a result of the market that has been created for the product by the feed-in tariff?

Initiatives like the feed-in tariff form an important part of how we respond to climate change. The world over, feed-in tariffs have been the single most effective driver of renewable energy generation. This will be just one part of a range of initiatives that will need to be implemented to achieve the necessary emissions reduction and economic change.

One other necessary change will be a shift to a more effective public transport system that helps to connect people and communities and contributes to the Canberra economy. My colleague Ms Bresnan has spoken often about the benefits that public transport brings to the ACT. She has been a passionate and strong advocate for building a world-class public transport system here in Canberra. She has spoken of the role of ACTION in facilitating social inclusion, combating congestion and reducing transport emissions. However, it is the economic benefits of public transport that are most relevant for today’s discussion.

Building a fast, frequent and reliable public transport system is a valuable investment in the Canberra economy. It allows families to make the economic decision to


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