Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2057 ..
Business and government departments are the biggest employers of Australians. They can lead by example by encouraging their staff to implement energy saving strategies in the workplace and duplicate these strategies in their own homes. Business and government departments can influence the lives of us by leading the way with responsible behaviour and participating in the reporting of their greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumed in the ACT. Compulsory public disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions from business and government in the ACT will ensure monitoring of acceptable levels of emissions.
Once again, I'd like to commend Ms Dundas for this motion and support the motion.
MRS BURKE(5.38): I would also like to commend Ms Dundas for moving this motion. I have to say it's not an area I am fully au fait with, but obviously it is one that will affect us all if we don't start taking responsibility. It is an important issue, as has been said. I do, however, have some concerns with regard to Ms Dundas' motion.
Again, I absolutely agree that we need to do better in this area. Whilst, on the face of it, this motion appears to be sensible-"to require all businesses with a turnover above the payroll tax threshold along with all Territory-owned entities including Government departments to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions"-it simply isn't practical in some areas.
My example, Mr Deputy Speaker, would be a personal one. There would be many people in this situation. I'd just ask Ms Dundas to consider this; maybe there could be an appropriate amendment; I don't know. I used to run a family business with my husband, a commercial contract cleaning company based in a small office in Fyshwick. We contracted over 40 people who were engaged in contract cleaning duties but not within that office. That office was 130 square metres. The equipment that was used in that office and the emissions that would be generated were not as much as perhaps those from a large property in O'Malley or from some of the embassies.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't report; I'm just pointing it out as maybe a flaw in this motion. We were eligible, for most of our 14 years in business, to pay payroll tax, so we were going to be caught in a situation where we had little to no emissions. Again, I'm alluding to red tape for businesses. This will be something that later on I hope we can work through-that there would be a way in which businesses can take their responsibility as all householders should be doing anyway. But it certainly did pose a question to me when I looked at it.
I hope it is one that Ms Dundas will be able to maybe address in her closing remarks. Whilst I commend her motion, I think there is a difficulty in some of the delineation between people paying payroll tax and the emissions that they're actually making. I'm happy to talk about that with her at a later date.
MS DUNDAS(5.41): I will speak to the amendment and also make my closing remarks, as I think we have all said what we want to say on this in this particular debate. In regards to the amendment: I believe that the amendment will actually pick up the concerns that Mrs Burke has just raised in terms of how this will apply to businesses who are above the payroll tax threshold.