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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3392 ..


environmentalists accept that they have an important contribution to make. They are eager for information and to know what changes they can make in their own lives to respond to our climate emergency.

As I said earlier, the Canberra Liberals will not play politics on the environment, because Canberrans do not want that. The reality is that the ACT’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2045 is a tripartisan commitment. I am pleased and proud to stand here today and reiterate the Canberra Liberals’ position on climate policy—that the Canberra Liberals support the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable electricity target, we support zero net emissions by 2045, we support the 2025, 2030 and 2040 interim targets, and we accept the science of climate change.

The Canberra Liberals have always had a strong position on climate action in the ACT. In 1997 the then minister for environment, Gary Humphries, announced that the ACT government would work towards reducing the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2018—at that time a bold and ambitious step. It was my colleague Nicole Lawder who, as shadow minister for the environment, in August 2016 led the process for the Canberra Liberals offering tripartisan support for the targets of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and zero net emissions by 2050. It was my colleague Jeremy Hanson, as the then Canberra Liberals leader, who endorsed that announcement; and, of course, that 2016 target has since been moved forward to 2045.

The ACT’s size and comparative population density offer benefits that other jurisdictions cannot match in terms of meeting our climate goals. As I said earlier, Canberrans have a passion for sustainable practices and many can afford to take them up. Ms Lee’s participation at Glasgow reinforces this commitment, which is why it was disappointing that the Chief Minister and Greens leader attempted to politicise the issue. We have much to do in our small territory with regard to reducing transport and gas emissions; and, frankly, I do not think we are on top of this. Talking together and showing real leadership, taking the politics out of climate change, would be a significant first step.

Today’s motion contains words that point to a need for action—“last chance” and “climate catastrophe” among them. Given the language and stated support of the Labor-Greens parties for real action on climate change, I am puzzled why so much turns so slowly. Let us take these few examples. The 10-year review of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010 was due to be completed as soon as practicable after 10 years of the act, yet we are still waiting. Why should such an important review take more than one year to complete, and when will we receive it?

With respect to Canberra’s big battery project, it is disappointing that the Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Action refused, or was not able, to give any details during the recent estimates hearings about the time frame for delivering this important project. With respect to gas, when will the government stop using gas in government buildings, as they committed to? What is the government’s plan to encourage households to move off gas, and how will they support low income and vulnerable households?


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