Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 July 2008) . . Page.. 2636 ..
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.30): I am in agreement with Dr Foskey on everything except for the necessity to list them all in the definition. The Stanhope government’s performance on most of the measures that Dr Foskey has spoken about is poor. Really, the performance of most governments in Australia on these things has been poor and we are lagging behind the world. When you consider that we live in a much sunnier city than Freiburg or any of the other standout cities in Germany, we really should hang our heads in shame. The fact that there are very few incentives or rules relating to solar hot water is a great shame.
We had an opportunity at the last election, and the planning minister and the environment minister have had a number of opportunities to change the building laws so that it would be necessary, when you replace a hot-water system, to replace it with a solar hot-water system. We have seen one small innovation which I congratulate ActewAGL on—a loan scheme to allow people to put a hot-water system on and then pay off their solar hot-water system through the reductions in their energy bills. I applaud ActewAGL for that.
It is the beginning of the process that we took to the last election, which we called the green bank scheme—giving people loans that they could repay through their reduced energy bills. It was interesting that, when the Canberra Liberals floated this as an idea at the last election, Mr Stanhope went into complete paroxysms and told us that he was not going to allow anyone to open up a bank, essentially, to do these things. He did not understand the concept; he did not really look into it. He was just nay-saying, as was his wont. But it was interesting that when Kevin Rudd made almost exactly the same proposal before last year’s federal election, he was all over the place like a rash, saying what a great idea it was.
Eventually, I suppose, the Stanhope government will come around. It was interesting to note that, before the 2004 election, in its assessment of environment policies, the Conservation Council said in its summary that, no matter who came to power in the 2004 election, the green bank scheme should be introduced. We have waited for four years; Mr Stanhope has said over and over again that we cannot possibly do it. He was embarrassed because Kevin Rudd took up the idea, but he still has not been embarrassed enough to do anything about it. It is something for which we are still waiting with bated breath, and I hope that before the next election Mr Stanhope adopts the policy.
We have a long way to go in making this a truly sustainable city that works well on renewable energy and cuts the amount of energy that we use. Mr Gentleman’s measure is a small one but it will not do it in isolation. We need to do a lot more. That is why I again commend the framework that we started with this morning. It is a wonderful coincidence that we had a discussion this morning about new bills involving targets. We are in the last few minutes of finalising Mr Gentleman’s renewable energy premium bill and we will then move on to a discussion about the quality of housing stock in relation to energy efficiency and other things. It has been a good day for airing the issues but we have to move on from just airing the issues and actually get Jon Stanhope off his—
Mr Hargreaves: Derriere.