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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1924 ..

the availability of homes that are able to be adapted and accessible to all members of the community, regardless of age, disability or other factors.

Mr Assistant Speaker, infrastructure is integral to how we live our lives. I am pleased to have outlined today how we are improving our living infrastructure and the policy drivers for more sustainable housing infrastructure.

The parliamentary and governing agreement includes other key commitments that I will be working on with others to progress through this term. These commitments will facilitate the transition to environmentally sustainable buildings, including setting new energy efficiency requirements for new buildings. They will start a 10-year pathway to shift to world’s best practice on climate resilient and environmentally sustainable buildings.

The next update of the national construction code will include increased energy efficiency requirements for residential buildings. In line with the commitments in the parliamentary and governing agreement, I look forward to working with other building ministers nationally to introduce these important changes.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.07): I would like to start by thanking the Chief Minister for his update on the ACT infrastructure plan and, in particular, note the highlighting he did of the government’s work on sustainability and the ACT’s nation-leading action to achieve net zero emissions.

As the Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, I would like to speak today on how critical our infrastructure decisions are in reducing emissions and in preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. As the Chief Minister said, sustainability is core business for the ACT government; so too must emissions reduction and climate adaptation be part of core business and all our infrastructure decisions.

As well as the primary purpose of the infrastructure, we need to ask: will this infrastructure support our goal of net zero emissions or will it lock in future emissions that could otherwise be avoided? What is the “social cost” of the carbon emissions that will be generated in making and using this infrastructure? Is the infrastructure appropriate for the future climate? Will it perform in the hotter, drier climate that is projected for our region? Will it stand up to increased bushfire risk and increased intensity of rainfall? Will this infrastructure add to urban heat? Could it be built in a way that supports city cooling? Does it demonstrate best practice for reducing emissions and building resilience to climate change?

We are already witnessing the impacts of a warming climate in the ACT. We will experience more frequent bushfires, heatwaves, severe storms and, of course, droughts. It is critical that we not only reduce our greenhouse gas emissions but also continue to prepare for the future impacts of climate change. Climate wise infrastructure is key to ensuring that Canberrans can continue to enjoy their way of life. We need buildings that are energy efficient and adapted to our changing climate.

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