Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1662 ..
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (4.52): The government will support this motion. In truth, we will not vote against it.
I have set out today to get a ruling on exactly how much clout we have, given that we sold half of the electricity utility a couple of years ago. We sold it into the commercial market, to a commercial body, and to people who quite clearly have strictly commercial objectives as opposed to social-
Ms Tucker: We know what the objectives of Actew are. They must have bought Actew knowing that ESD was in the objectives of Actew. So it is not just business imperatives.
MR QUINLAN: I am not hearing you. Ms Tucker pointed out some of the practical complications in giving a sensible answer to this motion. If ActewAGL does accept a request, or if a request from us does have sufficient force to make them do it, then all those practical difficulties she raised will come into play and it will become a bit of a nonsense.
It is commonsense to advise people of the impact of their energy consumption. It would be a whole lot more sensible to say, "This is how you calculate it. If your electricity bill is so much, then this is how much greenhouse gas you are producing." That would be more sensible than measuring it for every bill and printing it on the bill, which would be an administrative imposition.
I have asked ActewAGL to give me detail on this. I have asked them for it over some time and they have not given it to me. So if they end up having to spend a few hundred thousand dollars setting up a system and changing their bill format, to some extent it will be on their own head. I cannot guarantee that, under the current structure, a motion passed in this place will have the effect of enforcing something on ActewAGL. AGL owns half of ActewAGL, and we have no say over AGL. But we will certainly pass it on.
MS DUNDAS (4.56), in reply: I thank the Assembly for their support of what I believe is a practical step to assist households in finding their impact in one small way on the greater global environment. But I am disappointed by the Treasurer's words about practicalities.
Ms Tucker brought to light some sensible things that we need to think about in implementing this motion. If Victoria, possibly one of the most privatised states in Australia, can bring this in through consultation between the Bracks government and electricity providers in Victoria, resulting in this information being provided on bills from private companies, I fail to see why-and I would be most surprised if-the ACT would not be able to do this.
It is disappointing in light of what appears to be a worrying trend on a number of issues. This Assembly has made some very clear commitments in a number of key areas, environment being one of them. We have supported the establishment of the Office of Sustainability and today the earth charter. Today we have also looked at solar water heating. The government says nice pretty words but seems to be looking for excuses not to address the practicalities in a number of areas. I hope this impression I have is not