Page 29 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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pleasure, and prioritising products produced by artisans and farmers in the region. In the Assembly I will work to ensure that the qualities of the bush capital are protected against poorly conceived development, and that our endeavours to build a vibrant and coherent city incorporate appropriate measures to protect and enhance our natural environment. I will also work to strengthen links within the broader region to improve our social interaction and our ability to tackle environmental problems together.

This government has made a strong commitment to sustainability, and has produced some excellent studies to show the way. At its most minimal, sustainable development means fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the enjoyment and wellbeing of those to come. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the Assembly-agreed target of 1990 levels by 2008 is a good beginning. Any future development—residential and commercial—should meet the specifications of a high quality, sustainable design. We have the know-how to create energy and water-efficient buildings and suburbs. If we are to be serious about sustainable development, now is the time to put this knowledge into practice. The Greens will do all we can to promote the adoption of measures to achieve this target and to increase awareness of the links between social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability.

I have mentioned just a few of the areas that I am committed to working on in this Assembly. The achievement of all of this depends upon an overarching commitment to good governance. We urge the government, in the interests of the Canberra people, to continue to listen and respond to the other voices in the Assembly.

It is vital that the important checks and balances in our system remain robust and effective. We need a committee structure that is not simply a rubber stamp, and statutory oversight mechanisms with the power and authority to investigate and make recommendations on things that are not working. Majority government should not be permitted to mean that any less care is taken over important decisions; nor should it mean that the bureaucracy is able to be less accountable for its actions in carrying out government policy.

The Greens will work in the Assembly to ensure that the mechanisms for accountability and transparency are sound and resilient. Mr Speaker, fellow members, friends and people of Canberra, let me thank you for this opportunity to speak today. I wish to close by assuring those who appreciate the debate and scrutiny that comes with a strong crossbench that we Greens will do all we can to serve these functions. We look forward to working with you.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo): Mr Speaker, I seek leave of the Assembly to make my inaugural speech.

Leave granted.

MR MULCAHY: First of all I would like to extend my congratulations to all those elected to the Assembly; I also congratulate the government on its success; and I also would like to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition on his unanimous re-election to the position of leader.

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