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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 287 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

and I support the activities to try to reduce that. But I question the priority. I do not question at all the motives or the work of the committee. I applaud the work of the committee and the recommendations that they have made. Had I been in the Assembly at the time when the terms of reference were drawn up, I would have asked that the public safety aspect feature a little bit more prominently in them.

But, Mr Speaker, I am very disappointed in the Government's response. They have agreed where it does not cost them a penny; they have agreed where it is not really going to get much publicity anyway; they have not agreed where it is going to cost them a quid; and they have not agreed where there is clear evidence that they should have had a greater accent on public safety for the kids and on the public car parks.

I have just mentioned those two. I have had people who are shopkeepers come to me and say, "The lighting at the rear of our shopping centre is pretty ordinary. People lurk around the place. We do not feel very safe". The Government says, "Oh, well, when we refurbish these shopping centres, we will whack a bit more lighting in" or, "When we get a developer, we will twist his arm to whack some more lighting in". I do not find that enough. I think the Government ought to be a bit more proactive about this, Mr Speaker. Apart from that we have no further comment on it.

MS TUCKER (10.59): As the initiator of the inquiry into the provision of quality outdoor lighting by the former Planning and Environment Committee, I have to say that I am disappointed with the Government's response. While the Government acknowledges that there is room for improvement in Canberra's outdoor lighting, it does not appear to be prepared to do much about it. As I said to this Assembly when this inquiry was set up, the problem with outdoor lighting is not just about the impact it has on the night sky and on the astronomical activities in the region, but also about the fact that poor lighting is wasteful of electricity and money.

Mr Hargreaves seemed to be concerned that there was not enough focus on the actual provision of lighting in Canberra. That was not the task of the committee. Where the lights are is another issue altogether. But I do want to point out to Mr Hargreaves, who seemed to be concerned, that the committee did not actually address the issue of safety. There are two ways in which this issue could allay your concerns. If we are saving energy and electricity costs, obviously there is more money available to be spent on providing lighting in areas where there is not adequate lighting.

Also, what is very interesting to note is that efficient lighting - that is, lighting that has the cut-offs to stop the light pollution which causes waste of electricity and light spill in the night sky - actually is better for safety. If you have lights which are just pouring light out, there is the problem of glare for people, and they cannot actually see into the shadows either. So, there is a safety benefit in having well-designed lighting. I do not think it is fair to criticise the report in terms of its lack of attention to the matters that you have just raised. That was not the task of the committee.

The lack of coordination of matters affecting the standard of outdoor lighting that was identified by the inquiry is not being seriously addressed by government. For example, the recent move to develop a stronger regulatory framework for electricity services in the ACT provides a great opportunity for reviewing streetlighting standards which are

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