Page 509 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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incompatible and expensive. The government is committed to undertaking research to determine if there is one simple and robust tool available to the planning system that will guarantee both energy and water savings in the residential sector without compromising the building code of Australia and complicating the planning system.

The research will identify both the costs and benefits to the government, industry, the community, individual home owners and the ACT environment, will involve extensive consultation with industry and the community and will identify mechanisms to implement any changes required and ensure that all due diligence is undertaken.

Investigations are on a range of models that the government will consider with the due diligence that is required when introducing such measurers into a regulatory environment. Any model adopted would need to have the capacity and flexibility to increase sustainability standards and targets as necessary. Consultation with industry and other key stakeholders has commenced to enable a full evaluation of potential systems and strategies in an ACT context. However, this process would be inappropriately compromised by the setting of arbitrary time frames. Some of the systems being considered are proprietary brands and cannot simply be purchased and customised for ACT purposes.

In relation to implementing sustainability requirements for all government office developments and all new government tenancies, it should be noted that the government has provided $4 million for the sustainable infrastructure program to supplement the capital works program. This initiative considers measures aimed at increasing energy efficiency, water reduction and reuse, alternative energy sources and other activities targeted to deliver cost-effective enhancements in the environmental performance of public facilities and infrastructure. The government has incorporated sustainable design principles into the design of major infrastructure projects including the proposed ACT prison, rural villages foreshadowed for Uriarra, Stromlo and Pierces Creek, and the powerhouse glass centre, and has also undertaken energy audits of government buildings and will continue to do so.

In relation to making a commitment to recognising assessment and accreditation tools, I have already outlined a number of commitments above and we will progress these in accordance with the national framework. In addition, the ACT currently recognises two schemes on a voluntary basis: the Australian building greenhouse rating, ABGR, scheme for existing buildings, and the GreenStar system for new commercial development.

The ACT Planning and Land Authority recognises that both of these systems can encourage improved environmental performance in existing and new buildings. Further policy work is under way in relation to these tools and to encourage their adoption on a voluntary basis. This will be done prior to any decision based on due diligence to make them mandatory. I repeat that it will be done based on due diligence before it is made mandatory.

The government has already made a serious commitment to increase the sustainability of the built environment in the ACT and is preparing to make a significant announcement in the near future on other initiatives. This announcement will be the result of careful and detailed analysis of the various tools available and the implications of applying standards and targets from not just an environmental point of view but also a social, economic and

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