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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4917 ..

As I have previously indicated to members in this place, this will be determined through the development of action plan 2 to “Weathering the change”. We will use the studies and the analysis that the government has made publicly available to date to inform the final suite of measures we will use to move towards the first of those targets, which is the peaking target in 2013, and then the 40 per cent reduction by 2020. That will be the approach that the government will adopt.

I do not believe that anyone listening to this debate can seriously believe the claims of those opposite that their target comes without cost or impact on the community. It does. Any shift to a low carbon economy will. We will be judged by how we will manage that cost, how we will protect those who are vulnerable and how we will make that adjustment. That is the approach that this Labor government is determined to take.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.52): When you follow blind ideology, as the Labor Party and the Greens do on this issue, the problem is that you do not consider the costs. There is only one fraudulent argument that has been put in this place today, and that is from Simon Corbell and Mr Rattenbury—that 40 per cent is a magic number. What we are being told today by the Labor Party and the Greens is that 40 per cent is a magic number, that it has special, mysterious qualities where, if you can just get to 40 per cent reductions, all of our climate change issues will be solved. They say that if you do 39 per cent you will not get there. If you do 38 or 37, you will not get there. If you do 41 or 42, you have done too much. According to the Labor Party and the Greens, 40 per cent is the magic number; it is the one that will get us there.

Does anyone really believe this kind of claptrap—the idea that, with all of the uncertainties that exist, if only we can get to this magic number of 40 per cent then we will fix it. It is rubbish. What we need to do as policy makers is consider all the facts.

There are a lot of good things that we aim towards in politics. In education, we looked at it—we came up with an idea to cut class sizes to 21 in primary school—right through primary school. There were some people, a lot of experts, who would say, “If you could get to about 18 or 15, you could get some seriously good educational outcomes.” I agree with them. In an ideal world, if we could have 15 in a class that would be fantastic.

But we did the numbers. What happens when you do the numbers? You say, “We would like to get to 15 or 18 if we had the money. But we can get to 21. We can fund that, and 21 is not a bad start; 21 is a good place to be.” That is the equation that we all have to solve as policy makers. We have to take what are laudable goals—or important goals, important policies or ideals—and say, “What is reasonable?”

We consider a number of factors. We consider a range of expert advice. We consider the cost to the community, to the government. In the case of action on climate change, we consider what is happening around the country and around the world—because we cannot exist in complete, splendid isolation. We can change leadership, but we cannot completely ignore what goes on around the rest of the country because it will impact on us.

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