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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 488 ..

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I think the Minister will find that quite a number of groups have expressed interest and probably there have been some quite clear expressions in writing. Minister, I take you to mean that you will really activate the procedures under way to give the building over to some responsible group?

MR SMYTH: Yes, we would be delighted to see it go to community groups for a reasonable use. It is a valuable facility. The other thing is that it clearly impacts on the future of the entire Erindale Centre. We have an obligation there. This Government is very keen, through its various programs, to help build up group and local centres and to make sure that they are viable. I share the member's concerns and will get back to him as quickly as I can.

Energy Management Program

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services and relates to the energy management program in the capital works budget. I did give the Minister some notice of this question. Over the past several years, Urban Services has managed an energy management program which has the objective of reducing recurrent energy costs throughout Urban Services owned and operated facilities. According to the Government's own documentation, between 1990 and 1995 expenditure of $4.5m accrued total estimated savings of $3.7m, as well as ongoing savings at the rate of $1.5m per annum. As the brief on last year's capital works program states, the primary justification for this project is that it will save money on an ongoing basis. I would also like to remind the Minister that one of the commitments in relation to the greenhouse gas reduction target released last November was "an investigation into significant energy efficiency in Government buildings, and seeking the Commonwealth Government's cooperation in doing the same in its buildings". Given this Government's public commitment to this program as part of the strategy of reducing greenhouse gases and the fact that this program clearly saves the Government money, I am interested to hear, firstly, why the projected expenditure of $520,000 by June 1999 has been revised down to $248,000 and, secondly, why there appears to be no ongoing commitment to the energy management program in future years.

MR SMYTH: I thank Ms Tucker for notice of this question and acknowledge her strong interest in this matter. As she has stated, the energy management program has been implemented in the ACT over the past six years. I guess credit would go to a former Labor government for starting that program and to the previous Carnell Government for continuing it. The program is now under further refinement to determine what future physical works may be necessary. The majority of ACT government buildings have had action taken in regard to their energy management program and it is appropriate now that we stop and look at what we are doing. The funding for 1997-98 has therefore been committed for energy management audits for the remaining buildings, and these will be done throughout 1998. They include buildings such as the Assembly building, the new Canberra Gallery and Museum, Macarthur House and the Callam Offices, which have been refurbished recently and are now equipped with energy-saving features. We just want to make sure that they are doing what they promised.

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