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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5027 ..

greatly in their environmental performance. What requirements are there in the ACT to ensure that toxic and environmentally damaging materials are minimised in all new buildings and renovations, and do these differ from any general federal requirements?

MR BARR: ACT buildings are subject to Building Code of Australia regulations, and of course all of the relevant health and other considerations that are regulated through other agencies. I am not aware of any significant difference in the ACT from other jurisdictions; this would fit under a national regulation. If I am advised otherwise, I will inform the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, are there consistent ACT standards to ensure that toxic building materials, such as those that contain volatile organic compounds, are minimised in all ACT school buildings, including private schools?

MR BARR: In relation to ACT public school buildings, I know this has been an issue that has been raised in the last five years or so, ever since I have been minister. I am certainly aware that the department of education, in the construction of ACT public schools, seeks to minimise or eliminate the use of such materials. I certainly recall, in my speech last week to the Assembly on school capital works, reporting on just this issue. Private schools would be another matter, and I would imagine it would be entirely in the hands of either the Catholic education office or the independent school as to the nature of materials that they use, provided that it is consistent with all of the national and local regulations that are in place for the construction of school buildings.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, are there ACT standards that require the use of sustainable building materials in new buildings and renovations, including materials that contain recycled content, are recyclable or are sustainably sourced?

MR BARR: I understand that there are some organisations that are lobbying for such standards to be in place and the Greens are amongst those organisations. I know that about seven or eight years ago, so prior to my time in this place, there was some commitment given in a piece of legislation that some work in this area would be undertaken. I do not know that there was ever a time frame put on that work. This is, in fact, the second time that the Greens have raised this or similar matters with me. I understand that the ACT Planning and Land Authority are investigating the matter, but I do not believe that there has been any action at this point.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

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