Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2903 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
It has also been an ongoing concern of mine that there has been a lack of enforcement of the existing environment protection laws. For example, I understand that there has been no follow-up of licensed firewood sellers to see whether they have been complying with the code of practice that was a condition of their licences. Perhaps the increase in environment funding should have been $1.5 million each year rather than over three years.
Another area that needs picking up is the ACT greenhouse strategy. I am aware that a number of programs have been funded, but a significant amount of money was not spent last year, so the overall funding has been cut back. Perhaps there is a need for greater publicity of the benefits available to people, such as the subsidies for solar hot water heaters and cavity wall insulation. There also needs to be an overall review of strategy, including an update of the ACT greenhouse inventory so that we can see what progress has been made towards the target.
A major project of Environment ACT is the implementation of the tree protection legislation. I have received a number of complaints about this implementation from both directions: people wanting to cut down trees but not being able to get approval and others who think that approvals are too easy to obtain. This points to some inconsistency in how tree removal applications are being assessed. I am aware that implementation of the legislation is taking up significant resources within Environment ACT, so I am looking forward to the promised review of the interim legislation so that we can ensure that the legislation is effective and properly targeted.
This year will be a critical time in the implementation of the No Waste by 2010 strategy; it is targeted to renew the household waste collection contracts, and I understand that a major project this year will be a review of the next steps to achieve the target. A critical area that needs more attention is commercial waste, and I will be interested to see the outcome of this review.
MR STEFANIAK (9.30): I first want to make a few comments in relation to Gungahlin Drive, an ongoing issue. A lot has been said about that already, but there are a number of factors at work, including what the federal government ultimately does or does not do-and the National Capital Development Authority.
I remind the government of places such as the AIS, Bruce Stadium, Bruce CIT-and Calvary Hospital, which could also be affected by the government-preferred option of the western route. I am not exactly certain where it would be out there, because the minister seems almost to have considered that that might not be the only route, depending on what happens.
This side of the house has always made known that we have supported the eastern route, and I still think that is very much the best option. I hope to see that actually come to pass. The people of Gungahlin are incredibly keen to see a road develop, and we have made much of when that is likely to occur. We still do not have a definite date, but it is very important that a road be built.