Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2011) . . Page.. 1838 ..
In addressing some of the comments Mr Corbell made, we were never suggesting that the government were not doing anything on these policies—quite the contrary. But they have been doing it without a strategic framework in these areas. That is of concern because they are, and I agree with Mr Corbell on this, complex, challenging and difficult areas. That is why we need to ensure that we have a good strategic framework for each of them.
My view is that the government has had in each of these cases significant time and space to deal with them and yet has not dealt with them in a timely manner. It is not like it was not clear that some of these were coming. If we go back to the waste strategy, it was always clear that it was going to expire in 2010, or in fact at the end of 2009. Given that the government has been in office since 2001, one might have anticipated putting that in the work plan somewhere down the line to ensure that there was a new strategy in place by the time the old one expired.
We then turn to the energy policy. Of course, that was started in 2006. It is now 2011. If that had been done in a timely manner we should probably already be on the first revision of it. Again, I acknowledge that this is a complex and fast-moving area, but that is not an excuse for operating without a clear strategic framework or a clear strategic vision because something like an energy policy should be addressing important questions. What percentage of our energy do we want to get from renewables? How much do we want to generate from inside the ACT? How much do we want to purchase from across the border? Where do we need to get the power from? For all of these sorts of questions we should have some clear strategic framework to help guide us through then, I suppose, the sub-decisions that fall out of that.
Mr Corbell said, “We need to get these policies right.” Again, I agree with him. But we also actually need to get them done. I think it is important that we do have a commitment to getting some of these policies done in a timely manner. That may mean that we then need to review them, because the world does change. But if we work on the basis that the world keeps changing, then we will need to actually set the framework or we will just keep floating along with the tide rather than setting a clear direction of where we want to go.
I particularly find it interesting in terms of the energy policy where public submissions did close well over 12 months ago. I was interested in Mr Corbell’s comment today that the submissions were broadly supportive. On that basis I find it interesting, and perhaps this is a discussion we can have in another context, why then there is such delay in finalising it. If the submissions are broadly supportive, where is the blockage? Is it in cabinet? Is that the problem? I do not know. It is an interesting question, but what it points to is that the underlying issue for each of these strategies is that we need to move forward, we need to get them done, we need to do a good job, but we need to get them done.
I was also interested in Mr Corbell’s observation that the government announced their zero net emissions goal in May 2009. We are now two years down the track from that. The weathering the change action plan is not in place. The sustainable energy policy