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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 10 March 2005) . . Page.. 905 ..

I am very hopeful that the government’s proposed sustainability legislation will provide an ongoing framework that will ensure our government departments do become sustainable in their operations. After reading a number of annual reports from government agencies, I am aware of a lack of indicators by which they can report upon their progress towards sustainability both within their own operations and in performing their responsibilities towards the larger community. Even Actew, whose operations clearly have large environmental and social ramifications, is not required to report on its performance in those areas. Many agencies in the 2003-2004 annual reports omit even to report on their actions and initiatives to support ecologically sustainable development, although this is a requirement in the 2004 annual report directions. At the risk of sounding picky, today I observed that several papers in this Assembly, including one concerning a sustainable transport plan, use far more paper than required. The sustainable transport plan was produced in very large font on paper printed on one side only. So, with that in mind, we can begin our work for sustainability in this place.

A supplementary paper, which accompanied last year’s budget papers, entitled “Framework for future budget presentation” asks some of the relevant questions and begins the discussion. I believe that only Kerrie Tucker provided any response to this paper. I will work with and on the government to ensure that its legislation and reporting requirements assist in our move towards meaningful sustainability.

In this matter of public importance speech, I have raised matters that the ALP government with its majority might like to ponder as it plans for the next four years. It can go down in history as the government which repositions our city as a leader in design and strategies for a sustainable future or it can render the term meaningless by divorcing it from meaningful action. Personally, I think that the journey towards sustainability could be an exciting one and one in which we can bring the community along.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (4.44): I am pleased to be speaking in the matter of public importance today. I note Dr Foskey’s point that the Stanhope government can go down in history as the government that truly led the city towards a more sustainable future. I think we have, but you will not hear the Greens acknowledge that because that is not in their political interests.

Today’s matter of public importance is remarkably similar to a motion that Dr Foskey brought before the Assembly for debate in February this year. In that motion, Dr Foskey called upon the Assembly to recognise the need for mandatory sustainability targets in the building, design and construction industry in the ACT and to commit to the implementation of a user-friendly planning tool, such as the BASIX tool from New South Wales, that includes water and greenhouse gas emission targets.

As no doubt all members are aware, a comprehensive debate ensued on the appropriateness of introducing mandatory targets in the ACT. During that debate, the government reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of a user-friendly planning tool that will assist not only the government but also individuals in the assessment of the sustainability of all new residential dwellings. In fact, the government first indicated to the Greens its intention to examine very closely the applicability of BASIX as a tool in the ACT. I am delighted that Dr Foskey is following on our lead.

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