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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1712 ..

I note that Ms Orr’s motion asks this Assembly to support the trial of a virtual power plant program and investigate opportunities to create a larger program in the future. Surely it is common sense to wait for the outcomes of this trial before investigating opportunities for a larger program. That is why you do the trial in the first place. We must be careful that we do not, in effect, pre-empt the results of that trial. We have to be objective about that trial. If a trial is genuinely informative, we will analyse the results with objectivity rather than with a bias. It is common sense to wait for the outcome of a trial before investigating implementation of a larger scale program in the future. It seems that the government has already decided on the outcome of this program and that the virtual power plant is really just a soft opening for a larger program in the future.

I very much believe that, whilst the government has put a huge amount of work into sustainable energy sources, not enough work has gone into the impact on struggling families, in particular families struggling with power bills. The government has already scaled back various concession programs, especially with regard to rates and other fees and changes. We have to be very careful that we do not further burden families.

We do not object to what has been proposed by Ms Orr. However, we have to make sure that families with low incomes are front and centre in our consideration of these policies.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (4.47): I welcome Ms Orr putting this motion on the agenda today. I take this opportunity to discuss some of the matters raised in that motion. I am pleased to speak in support of the points that she raises and add some information to that which has already been brought forward, both in the motion and Ms Orr’s speech.

Canberra is a young city which continues to grow. This places increasing pressure on government to facilitate the growth and infrastructure, create economic opportunities and continue to provide the quality of life that earns Canberra this reputation as the most livable city in Australia.

Climate change is placing an increasing pressure on all sectors of our society. There is a call from our community to ensure not that social, environmental and economic outcomes compete with each other but rather that government take action to support all three. This is known as the triple bottom line approach. That is the discussion we are having as part of this motion.

The effects of climate change are being felt locally, and more so by the vulnerable in our community. It is expected that by 2030, just over 10 years away, here in the ACT we will have at least an increased number and severity of fire danger days and nearly double the number of days over 35 degrees Celsius. Not only does extreme heat cause great discomfort to us all but also heat stress can be deadly, especially for those already vulnerable.

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