Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 February 2018) . . Page.. 247 ..


There are quite a few problems with the NEG as it is currently proposed, but I will highlight a few of the key problems. Its emission reduction targets are too weak. The government’s target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction in the electricity sector is not compatible with Paris targets to keep global temperature rises below two degrees, especially as it will leave a disproportionate burden with other sectors. Furthermore, it only models outcomes to 2030, whereas we must be developing long-term targets.

The second concern is that it prevents states and territories from going over and above the federal government’s weak emission reduction targets. This is the idea of “additionality” and, given the significant effort by numerous state and territory governments to develop ambitious renewable and climate change policies, it is an absolutely travesty that the commonwealth proposes to undermine those efforts.

The third concern is that it is likely to cement the dominance of a few big energy companies, otherwise known as “gentailers”. The obligations it places on the retail sector are likely to help entrench the dominant energy companies, which is bad for competition, prices and innovation.

The fourth concern is that it stymies the development of renewable energy, as it only adds one to four per cent additional renewable energy capacity over 10 years, compared to business as usual. This means the NEG will create little, if any, new renewable energy investment and it artificially extends the life of highly polluting fossil fuels like coal. These flaws make the NEG a deal the ACT cannot sign up to at this point. We will be urging the commonwealth government to lift its game and sign up to a policy that delivers energy security, price stability and environmental sustainability.

In my portfolio of mental health we are working towards the establishment of the office for mental health, and that remains a key priority for me for 2018. We have taken a very deliberate approach to establishing the office, with significant community consultation and engagement feeding into the proposed model. I was pleased to be able to participate in some of the consultation sessions across December and February, and I look forward to receiving the final report very soon and then moving to establish the office by 1 July this year. I believe that the office has the potential to make real and lasting change for mental health consumers, carers and their families.

I believe that one of the first priorities of the newly established office for mental health should be to develop an ACT strategy on suicide reduction, including setting targets in this area. This is a key government commitment under the parliamentary agreement, and I believe the office for mental health will be best placed to take on this important work. This strategy will be informed by the implementation of the LifeSpan suicide prevention framework, which will provide an evidence-based approach to integrated suicide prevention across the Canberra community. Funding for this initiative was provided in last year’s budget and the program will start in July this year.

We also understand that as a person’s mental health changes they will require different levels of care at different moments in their lives. The mental health system is


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video