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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3394 ..

has not focused on it enough, given that it continues to hold an investment portfolio in fossil fuel companies. During a recent estimates hearing, on 21 October, Treasury official Patrick McAuliffe said that the government was moving towards no fossil fuel reserves at all. The Canberra Liberals call on the government to fully divest all of its shares in fossil fuel companies as a matter of priority.

If there is one issue on which Canberra can and should work in a tripartisan manner, it is climate change. Let us show how it can be done in partnership as a positive model that other states and territories can follow.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (5.22): I rise today to support Ms Clay’s motion. As the COP26 meeting has shown us, the climate crisis is a problem that most of the world now fully understands. Unfortunately, Australia’s response at a national level continues to be found wanting. At the Glasgow COP, the Australian government is more isolated than ever before. Still, there is a huge amount that state and territory governments can do on the ground to address climate change. Every jurisdiction in Australia has, for some time, had its own net zero target. Now, finally, so does Australia.

The ACT government has been acting on climate change for years, in line with the science. The ACT has now cut emissions by over 40 per cent on 1990 levels as 100 per cent renewable electricity is providing incentives for households to move from gas to efficient electrical appliances and giving incentives for switching to electric vehicles. This looks a lot like practical action to me.

I would like to stress that these changes are not necessarily simple or straightforward. Dealing with climate change is complex and requires careful planning, particularly around equity issues and a just transition. These changes will require support from everyone in the community to pull together to help cut our emissions, just as we have pulled together through the pandemic.

The ACT Greens, not latecomers to the existential threat of climate change, have a strong grasp on the practical solutions we have available to us right now. This is far from blah, blah, blah.

We took a vast array of policies to the last election in areas ranging from urban heat island effects to electric buses and everything in between. One of our election commitments was to set a 10-year pathway to shift to world’s best practice on climate-ready and environmentally sustainable buildings. This commitment now appears in the 10th parliamentary and governing agreement and is a major focus of mine.

Houses built today will still be here in 2050 or beyond. They need to be fit for purpose once built. Few houses are later fully brought up to modern standards, because retrofitting is so expensive. In an apartment context, coordinating all of the unit owners to agree to a substantial retrofit is likely to be really difficult. It has to be done right, from the start.

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