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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3401 ..

If the Federal government does not move on this as part of its platform for the next federal election, I have been working with state and territory colleagues to explore how we may be able to deliver an equivalent policy framework through coordination between jurisdictions. This is obviously not an ideal solution. But we aren’t going to stand by and let the Commonwealth’s inaction on vehicle standards put a handbrake on the supply of cleaner vehicles into Australia or the availability of more affordable models that make these accessible to everyone—a real choice madam speaker.

So I very much hope to see a genuine, ambitious and detailed national zero emissions transport policy from the Commonwealth Government soon. The ACT stands ready to work in partnership with our federal colleagues and other jurisdictions to put this into action. We’ve put our plans on the table; it’s time this federal government did likewise.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (5.38): I rise today also to support Ms Clay’s motion. With COP26 underway in Glasgow, this motion is a timely reminder of the global significance of our local action and the importance of national leadership in keeping global warming to well below two degrees, as committed to in the Paris agreement.

This year the conversation at the UN climate summit has, thankfully, for the first time, directly tackled the need to phase out coal, oil and gas if we are to achieve net zero emissions. The UK government has led a call to phase out coal-fired power, with more than 40 countries signing up to this commitment to phase out coal by 2030 for larger economies and 2040 for smaller economies.

We can be proud that the ACT government signed up to this agreement and continues to be a member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance. We can be proud that we have committed to phasing out fossil fuel gas, starting with banning gas connections in new greenfield suburbs from 2022, then stopping gas connections in new infill developments from 2023. With a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply, this just makes sense. We can power our city with zero emission electricity rather than continuing to burn fossil fuel gas.

We can be proud that we are a leader in promoting zero emission vehicles, that our government passenger vehicle fleet is now around 30 per cent zero emission vehicles, and that the number of these vehicles on ACT roads is increasing as a result of our policies. We can be proud that we have reduced emissions by over 40 per cent from 1990 and that we have legislated targets for 2025, 2030, 2040 and 2045, and plans to get there. These targets reflect what is needed to keep global warming to well below two degrees. We can be proud that our climate policies are based on the latest science, and that we are doing our part to secure a safe and just future for people and the planet.

What we have achieved here in the ACT, I believe, has inspired others to act and provides a useful demonstration of what is possible. We have made significant progress, but we could have achieved even more if there were supportive national policies in place to provide certainty and clear signals to the market. That is why it is highly relevant to discuss national policies in this Assembly as well.

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