Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4658 ..
I am very proud to be part of a government that has supported a 40 per cent target. I think it is important for governments to lead the way. It will be hard work to get there, but I know that it is the view of large parts of our community that we need to take this strong action now. I know from being the Minister for Health, as the head of a large agency responsible for large energy consumption across government, that we have extremely good buy-in from that agency about preparing for the future, making changes, making those changes early, walking those changes through with staff and being absolutely serious about playing a major role in the government achieving this target overall.
From where I have seen this area of policy development grow over the last nine years, I think significant steps forward have been made. There is more work to be done, and passing this legislation today, the government’s legislation, is an important part of that journey along the way.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (5.26): It has been a long time coming, and we are certainly not there yet, but at least we now have a tangible start with the government’s bill on the table. Unlike any other jurisdiction in Australia, the ACT will probably—not today, but certainly by Thursday—commit to a level of action on climate change that will go some way to addressing the problems and the challenges we face.
The Bureau of Meteorology website states:
Australia and the globe are experiencing rapid climate change. Since the middle of the 20th century, Australian temperatures have, on average, risen by about 1°C with an increase in the frequency of heatwaves and a decrease in the numbers of frosts and cold days. Rainfall patterns have also changed—the northwest has seen an increase in rainfall over the last 50 years while much of eastern Australia and the far southwest have experienced a decline.
The changes are all around us. To some extent, our wealthy urban city is insulated from the early impacts, though we certainly will not be from the later ones.
So much has been said about climate change that it is hard to know what else to add. The world’s best scientists have told us how urgent it is that we take drastic action now. Community advocates have told us of the litany of failures at every level of government, both in Australia and around the world, and the ACT community have heard the ACT Greens talking about the need to act on climate change for as long as we have been here in this Assembly.
In 1996 Kerry Tucker moved a motion calling on the government of the day to develop a greenhouse gas reduction target specifically for the ACT. At that time the framework convention on climate change set targets of a return to 1988 levels by the year 2000 and a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2005. As we all know, far from achieving these goals, closer to the opposite has been achieved, and leaders of both political persuasions have hidden behind the actions of others to excuse their own failings.