Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 288 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
a major contributor to light pollution. However, streetlight management gets only a passing reference in the Government's statement of regulatory intent for utilities in the ACT. All that is said is that the current arrangements will continue. I also note that the Government is not prepared to develop an ACT-wide strategy to promote more efficient lanterns in streetlights, car parks, car saleyards and other locations, preferring instead to handle lighting problems on an individual basis.
Given that development proposals that involve outdoor lighting are being put forward all the time - the Government's work on refurbishing local shopping centres being an example - I would have thought it would be more efficient to develop an overall strategy and guidelines for quality lighting that could be drawn upon at any time, that the public could draw upon when considering the upgrading of the existing outdoor lighting or the installation of new lighting.
There was an interesting example of that lack of coordination. Recently, I went to have a look at some government housing where there had been quite an expensive refurbishment carried out, and the request from residents had been that there be more lighting actually put in the grounds of the government housing complex. This was done; but, unfortunately, because of the poor design of that lighting, there is now a very disturbing element of light for the residents in the flats. In other words, they cannot actually have darkness in their flats unless they have very strong and thick curtains. That is not only poor design in terms of wasting electricity and not efficiently lighting the area for safety reasons; it is actually causing a significant problem for people who live there. So, if we did have that overall coordination of high standards of lighting, that mistake would not have occurred.
I do note, however, that the Government has committed itself to undertake research on more efficient streetlight fittings. The committee's recommendation states that the analysis should be reported to the Legislative Assembly. I would therefore like the Minister for Urban Services to confirm that he will provide to the Assembly a report on this work.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.03): Mr Speaker, I just want to make a few brief comments, given my involvement in the earlier stages of this process as Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. I can see that there is some disappointment that the Government has not taken up the issues as fully as some members would like; but I have to emphasise to members of the Assembly that some of the recommendations involved, inherently, a very large expenditure to be able to reprofile Canberra's lighting system. The sort of thing that Ms Tucker was talking about is certainly possible, but it also comes at a very considerable cost.
Ms Tucker: But it will save money, too, remember.
MR HUMPHRIES: Ultimately, the running costs would be lower; that is true. But the time it would take to return that saving would be very great, particularly if, as some appearing before the committee argue - at least, some argument was put to the Government - to make this work you would need to actually change the frequency of light poles in the ACT. The present profile demanded that, to change the system of lighting