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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 695 ..


questions in the water, energy and emissions reduction areas of Minister Rattenbury’s portfolios, and Minister Cheyne will assist with attorney-general, consumer affairs and gaming matters.

Questions without notice

Environment—climate change

MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Minister, yesterday during question time you said:

… the ACT government has shown a specific and leading commitment around climate change.

Yet numbers do not lie. Canberra’s green infrastructure—which is critical to the reduction of the urban heat island effect and mitigating climate change—has halved in the last eight years. Minister, other than offering up platitudes, as you did yesterday, and reading from your notes, what will you do differently to reverse the harmful climate effects of the Labor-Greens government’s de-greening of Canberra?

MS VASSAROTTI: I thank Ms Lee for the question. As I noted yesterday, I did take that question on notice because it was referring to a report. We are seeking some further information, because of some of the statistics in it and the methodology that sits behind it do not line up with the information that we have in hand. We have taken it on notice and we will be providing a very comprehensive report back on some of the figures. It does report some significant figures that do not align with anything that we have seen in the past.

I will talk about the fact that the ACT government are really committed to conserving and managing the environment, and we are really pleased that the opposition is also concerned about these issues.

At the moment, we have about 70 per cent of the ACT that is conserved in parks and reserves. This exceeds the Aichi biodiversity target by a significant 17 per cent. We have a range of frameworks and legislative requirements that protect our biodiversity. There are a lot of things that we are doing right at the moment. Our Nature Conservation Act is the chief legislation that protects biodiversity in the ACT. It manages the conservation reserve network. There has been significant investment in this area. There is no doubt that the bushfires put pressure on our biodiversity, and investments have been put in to protect from that and recover from it.

MS LEE: Minister, when will you table that report, and why does the government say it cares about climate change but undermine its own commitment by halving Canberra’s green infrastructure?

MS VASSAROTTI: We will not be tabling a report that has been presented by another organisation.

Ms Lee: What about your response?


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