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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 604 ..

promoted as a clean and cheap alternative in this city, that is no longer the case. It is simply now another fossil fuel that we need to tackle and we need to provide sustainable alternatives. I would welcome the opposition taking a more helpful stance when it comes to helping the community understand the challenge that sits in front of us.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, what options are you carefully considering for the review, and when will the review be completed?

MR RATTENBURY: I believe I am not allowed to make those sorts of policy announcements in question time. But I can assure Ms Castley that we will release the details and there will be an opportunity for Ms Castley and others to contribute to that process. I would welcome her feedback.

Environment—Big Canberra Battery site

MR CAIN: My question is to the Minister for Climate Action, and that will be the deputy chief today, I understand. The Canberra Times reported this month that the Big Battery storage facility’s proposed site at west Belconnen would need more than five hectares of critically endangered habitat to be cleared, which is home to countless animal and plant species. The federal environment department has ruled that the project needs further assessment approval, and the federal and ACT governments will prepare a bilateral environmental impact statement. Plant and grasslands ecologist Sarah Sharp said that the Big Battery site needs to be moved to protect the environment. Minister, do you agree with Ms Sharp that the location needs to change to protect our environment?

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Gentleman, you are responding?

MR GENTLEMAN: Madam Speaker, I take that as a planning matter as we look forward to introducing new ways to combat climate change, including the Big Battery storage system for the ACT and across the ACT as well. Of course, whenever we move into these sorts of areas we need to look at considerations around the EPBC Act to ensure that we are doing the right thing in the environmental sense. On occasion when we are doing planning into the future we look at offsets for environmental work. This will be a part of the study for the Big Battery in the ACT.

MR CAIN: Minister, has the ACT government spoken with French-based Neoen about finding another site for the Big Battery?

MR GENTLEMAN: I am not aware that we have. I will take that question on notice.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, did the ACT government make any submissions or representations to the federal environment department inquiry into the project’s approval? If not, why not?

MR GENTLEMAN: I understand that we did make submissions, but I am not sure. I will take that on notice and come back to the Assembly.

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