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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1617 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

built under the older persons accommodation program, which the former government did quite well with.

I would like ACT Housing once again to have the capacity to undertake all the planning and all the construction of its houses, but I think that is a little way off. We will follow with interest, and support, what Mr Corbell is doing in relation to land development. After that has all been accommodated, we might see whether we can get back into the design business.

Years ago when I was minister for the environment and Mr Connolly was minister for housing, we had several programs for energy efficient homes-one at Lanyon and one at Gungahlin. They were wonderfully designed government houses. I do not particularly remember them having solar heating-I assume they had it-but they were solar passive in their total design. We would like to get back to that situation. Unfortunately, we have inherited a system under which ACT Housing, other than for older persons units, has to go out and spot purchase. We would like to get back into the design area.

It is not always the most efficient thing to retrofit a house with solar heating. That is one of the anxieties I have about this motion, which calls on us to do all government houses automatically. Sometimes it is not the most cost-effective thing to do. You would not replace an existing useable system. I can certainly give an undertaking that as systems need replacing in ACT government accommodation we will give first priority to solar hot water systems.

To sum up, in principle, we agree with the contention in the motion. In practice, there are overwhelming demands on government housing. I can say to you that in the circumstances we will do the best possible.

MS TUCKER (11.58): I seek leave to move two amendments together.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I move:

(1) Omit "condemns" and substitute "congratulates".

(2) Omit "regressive".

I support the basic intent of Mrs Dunne's motion. I think it is an important matter she has brought forward. My amendments deal with the tone of the motion. I do not want to condemn a government for introducing a solar hot water rebate scheme. I have been calling for similar things for a number of years in this place, and this is an important step.

To a degree, the scheme is regressive, because you have to own a house to be part of the scheme, but it is about trying to help people purchase a solar hot water system. It is not entirely fair to condemn the scheme and say it is regressive and therefore is not acceptable. We want to encourage people in any way we possibly can to look at this new technology and think about the longer term question of capital cost versus ongoing running costs. The problem for anybody is finding the money up front to purchase this money-saving technology that can lessen the load on the environment through reducing greenhouse emissions. There will be a motion on that from Ms Dundas after this debate.

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