Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5279 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
business sectors, including: the solar hot-water rebate and water efficient showerhead rebate, the cavity wall insulation program, the energy advisory service to provide authoritative advice to householders, the ecobusiness program and energy performance contract promotion to facilitate cost-effective energy-saving measures.
In its own operations the government has undertaken significant initiatives, which include: the purchase of green electricity, subscription to Greenfleet, the introduction of energy efficient hybrid vehicles into the government fleet, and the introduction of LPG buses. My colleague Mr Corbell indicated today in question time that we have made significant moves to introduce LPG buses in the ACT. The government will continue to pursue a range of other measures.
The challenge is undeniably difficult, but our response is world class. The government is also committed to maintaining the highest quality environment for the ACT. In relation to air quality, the government has allocated $300,000 over this and the next financial year for a wood heater subsidy scheme. The subsidy scheme will provide an incentive to replace polluting wood heaters with cleaner forms of heating such as gas or electricity. It allows subsidies which range from $400 for an electric installation to $600 for a gas installation, and an additional $200 is available for pensioners and low-income earners. I am pleased to say that the scheme will commence in two weeks time, on 1 January 2004.
In addition, the government has committed to the purchase of PM2.5 monitoring equipment. ACT Health has completed a trial for selecting the correct instrument and is currently finalising purchase of this equipment. The purchase of the PM2.5 instrument will enable the ACT to meet its national commitments, particularly the monitoring requirements included in the Ambient Air Quality National Environment Protection Measure.
I regret that my time has concluded. I am only halfway through the list of this government's achievements in relation to the environment. I would like another 15 minutes to half an hour to conclude my speech, but I will have to take the opportunity at another time.
MS DUNDAS (4.42): The government talks big on environmental issues in the ACT, but when will this talk turn into action? The government has put out a series of reviews and discussion papers, but when it comes to implementation its record has been a bit patchy. I recognise that many decisions come down to a question of resourcing. The government needs to set priorities, but it appears that the environment is not a priority for this government. The Commissioner for the Environment is a case in point. The commissioner has a huge workload and duties with regard to environmental reporting and review, and some statutory requirements, yet the office has been allocated 11/2 staff to carry out all of these duties. The commissioner's annual reports give us an amazing resource, in that we are able to monitor where the government is at. There needs to be support for the commissioner to continue this work. We need to encourage the government to move on with the implementation of its environmental initiatives.
Today the Chief Minister discussed the greenhouse gas issue. There have been long delays in the review of the ACT greenhouse gas strategy and we are still awaiting the