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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5013 ..

that that will happen. And we know why. Mr Rattenbury touched on it when he talked about greenwashing and the like. We have a situation now where the ANZ bank, I think it was, won an international award for its environmental credentials, so it has been targeted by environmental groups because, in their opinion, it is not perfect enough and, like all banks, it funds coal-fired power stations, which, of course no-one is proposing that we need to get rid of overnight. I do not know that anyone in this chamber is. So a group like the ANZ bank is being targeted when they have gone out of their way to build their environment credentials and they have been recognised for that. And because in the opinion of certain environmental activists they are not pure enough, they are not perfect enough, they are now being targeted, and in quite a vicious way, which, again, is completely counterproductive.

The next bank or the next large corporation that looks at this issue will say: “Why would we bother taking those environmental steps? Why would we bother making those environmental improvements if, once we do, we will be held to the standard of having to be perfect and, if we are not, we will be condemned, criticised and have a campaign launched against us?”

I think that is the kind of thing we are likely to see, and that is what is being alluded to, I think, by Mr Rattenbury. So let us be clear: that is what happens. And I think it is counterproductive because it will lead corporations, in that case, to step back from these issues. In the case of the amendment we are debating today, it will simply make it less likely that we have these types of sector agreements. For that reason we will not be supporting this amendment.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.21): I will speak briefly in regard to the comments that have just been made. I heard what the minister said and I think he does raise a point. We certainly have no desire to discourage participation by private sector entities in whatever form they take but I do not see this as being a significant burden. Frankly, my experience of most in the private sector is that they are fairly rigorous in analysing the efficacy of their own programs. I think those who would be perhaps scared off by provisions such as this are the ones who would be in this for greenwashing. And we know it takes place; it does happen. But those companies who are doing the right thing, who are rigorous in their own work—and many of them are—will see no burden in this and will actually be quite keen to test the efficacy of their programs. I trust that this will not be seen as a barrier.

But I take the minister’s comments on board. Certainly, if we do find that he is proven to be correct—I note his observation about hoping not to be—we would be open to entertaining a discussion. But a little bit of reporting is never a bad thing, in my mind.

Question put:

That Mr Rattenbury’s amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

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