Page 1654 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008

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propose to do.” It did that rather than starting from scratch and writing, de novo, a greenhouse strategy, a climate change strategy, which would give us something that we could test and measure and something that would give us some hope and some expectation that we would make some progress towards limiting our greenhouse gas emissions.

When it comes to climate change, the Stanhope budget is almost entirely dependent upon tree planting for greenhouse gas abatement. There are four separate tree-planting schemes. It is very hard to see when you go through the budget papers. You can look at budget paper No 5 and budget paper No 3 and all the different initiatives. It will take some drilling down during the estimates process, but I have the terrible feeling that they are either understating what they are spending or double counting. It is very hard to get your head around just which initiatives are environment initiatives or climate change initiatives and how much is actually being spent in the budget.

Then we have the future provisioning. Some of the future provisioning seems to be for the solar power plant. I do not have a problem with that, but it is a strangely imprecise amount of money. The $47.551 million seems an extraordinarily imprecise amount of money. I am not quite sure what they have in mind for that $47.551 million and whether Actew will be able to use every last cent of that money. In addition, there is future provisioning for $5 million in the outyears—not in the budget year, but in the outyears and one year beyond the outyears. In various places it is just future provisioning; in other places it is future provisioning for yet more trees.

There are a lot of things that the Canberra Times correspondent on the environment and I disagree on, but I had to agree wholeheartedly with her assessment of just sprinkling parsley over environmental initiatives to make them look good. The environment initiatives in this budget are extraordinarily disappointing, especially when we look at the things that relate to climate change. Only minor initiatives have been announced. We know that the Australian community in general, and we believe the Canberra community in particular, want something much bigger and much better from this government, which has spent a lot of time beating its chest about the environment but has not actually done very much.

There are some things that are worthy of note. It is not that I have anything against planting trees, but there is roughly $4.7 million in tree planting spread over four separate initiatives. There are the one million new trees over 10 years; there is the urban forest replacement program; there is additional tree planting; and there is the one million trees initiative in relation to the international arboretum and gardens.

While we are planting trees, we are also rolling out AstroTurf. It beggars imagination that the “Where will we play?” initiative is highlighted as an environment initiative, because we are rolling out AstroTurf. I hope someone does the calculation for the embedded energy in the AstroTurf and the impact on the petrochemical industry for the AstroTurf, not to mention the grass burns that you get when you fall over on AstroTurf when you are playing soccer, hockey or those sorts of things. It is a pretty rough and unforgiving surface—not nearly as forgiving as grass.

There are a couple of wry moments. A wry moment which I do not think the Attorney-General has got yet was the cause of much mirth on the opposition benches

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