Page 2797 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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shortage of imagination within our community. There is simply a shortage of government willingness to listen to and implement our community’s ideas. Therein lies the caution.

I want to deal now with sustainability. The Canberra plan states that the government will strive to see Canberra recognised as a city that successfully faces the challenges of sustainability, that uses minimum natural resources and makes the best of them. Its own work on sustainability shows that Canberra people have the highest per capita ecological footprint in Australia; hence we are among the highest consumers in the world. There is much to say on this. I have already said a lot of it and I will say a lot more in the Assembly in the future.

But today let me perhaps begin with the government’s incorporation of sustainability principles into the 2005-06 budget. I have congratulated the government on attempting to include sustainability measures in the budget because it is a difficult initiative. There is much work to be done before we can safely say, however, that this initiative is a success. Not surprisingly, the point was made in the estimates report that the onus is now on government to embark on a broad and deliberate consultation on the incorporation of sustainability principles in the budget.

This is a complex issue, but there is expertise in the Canberra community that could be harnessed with the right approach. There is also some good work being done in other states and municipalities. It is also interesting to note that the current government was elected on a strong environmental platform. Since then there have been a number of staff losses, broken promises and few new initiatives through the 2005-06 budget. For instance, we can see the proliferation of building without targets and benchmarks for energy efficiency. There is very, very slow process towards perhaps introducing BASIX, a building sustainability index.

The Stromlo village redevelopment seems to be turning out to be a greenwash. It looks like a green initiative, but when you look at the details, they are not very green at all. It was first thought it was going to be a world-class example of sustainability, energy and water efficiency. Now we are having “sustainability principles of a high standard”. The government has failed even to orientate the houses and blocks in a way that would make them solar efficient. Apparently the government is not talking to architects and builders with expertise in sustainable housing. It had the potential to be world class, good enough for our Canberra plan, but for some reason or other, it is not going to happen.

Finally, I want to deal with demography. The Canberra plan is based on the assumption that there will be hundreds of thousands of people living in Canberra. That is not the way we are going at the moment. In fact, our demographic trends are that we are going to have lots and lots of smaller households and that, if we are going to build any social sustainability, we are going to have to really rethink the way we do our planning. We need to plan for communities. The Canberra plan is only a piece of paper if it does not look at who is in our community, what they need, listen to their ideas and then implement them.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member’s time has expired.

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