Canberra Times . . Page.. 338 ..
We need a comprehensive strategy to promote green industries in the ACT. Examples include alternative and appropriate energy; high-tech software development; information technology, which is particularly valuable in encouraging small-scale use of technology; ecotourism; rehabilitating and restoring disturbed and contaminated sites; the arts industry; and food production, possibly supported by a local wholesale market. We already have Revolve working in the waste management area. Support for the expansion of secondary resource management through the recycling estate will provide opportunities for hundreds of new jobs, as well as local industries and art and craft studios. Mr Speaker, the Greens have proposed a green business advisory council which would assist people in identifying new products and processes that reduce energy and material processes, develop sustainable practices and produce end products which are environmentally friendly. This council could also facilitate networks of green businesses and help with the marketing of new products.
As far as tourism is concerned, I look forward to looking at the draft tourism strategy in more detail. Obviously, we are very concerned that an appropriate code of practice or accreditation of tourist operators is given a high priority in this strategy. Ecotourism does not just mean limiting numbers and activities in our national parks. It also means looking at the overall impact of increased numbers of people visiting the ACT. Because of the stage of development of this city there is potential for the ACT to capitalise on being a model of environmental sustainability with energy efficient accommodation and other appropriate technology, a good public transport system, including the use of our bike paths, and urban villages. The quality of the information passed on to tourists greatly influences the quality of the experience, ultimately affecting the success of the industry. Once again, the Greens are stressing the necessity of an intersectoral approach. Science and education are important to the tourism industry. We recommend that the Minister, if he has not done so already, make himself familiar with the national ecotourism strategy released in March 1994.
The Minister referred to the need to examine all legislation and regulations which hinder competition in order to fulfil our obligations to the national competition policy. There are likely to be many benefits from increased competition and efficiency, and there may well be unnecessary red tape in the ACT. However, the reforms highlight the unrealistic assumptions behind economic policy-making, and the lack of comprehensive evaluation of social and environmental costs and benefits of proposals. I noted an article by Brian Toohey in the Canberra Times a few weeks ago questioning the fantasy-world increases in GDP and export volumes which it is claimed will follow from the reforms.
I would also like to read out a quote from a Commonwealth Parliamentary Research Service research paper titled “National Competition Policy: Overview and Assessment”, which summarises very well some of the concerns the Greens share about economic policy which is prepared in a vacuum. The quote is: