Page 3265 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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The green vehicles duty scheme is about encouraging people to consider low emission vehicles when choosing a new vehicle by rewarding them with a reduction in the amount of duty payable based on the environmental performance of the vehicle. The green vehicles duty scheme takes into account the environmental performance of vehicles without focusing solely on fuel type. This means that it will be receptive to new vehicle technologies in the future.

Very clean diesel and petrol engines are already available in Australia and an increasing number of better performing hybrid models are expected to be available here shortly. In fact, of the five vehicles that currently achieve a five-star rating on the green vehicle guide, one is a hybrid while the other four use conventional petrol engines. Newer technologies such as fully electric vehicles are expected in the medium term. There are lower emission options in almost all vehicle classes, including four-wheel drives and higher performance vehicles. Even now, technology is being developed that will increase this proportion in the future.

This government’s leadership in this area fits well with the national approach being developed as a result of the recent Bracks review of Australia’s automotive industry. The commonwealth government commissioned the former Victorian premier, Steve Bracks, to look at all aspects of the motor industry and provide recommendations to improve its viability, particularly when it comes to the opportunities presented through new technologies and more fuel-efficient and lower carbon dioxide emitting vehicles. One of Mr Bracks’s recommendations relates to the harmonising, and in some cases reducing, of state and territory passenger motor vehicle taxes while encouraging governments to support an environmentally sustainable Australian industry. The green vehicles duty scheme is a practical way of the ACT responding to this idea.

The green vehicles duty scheme will encourage Canberrans to consider the environmental performance of their next new car using the green vehicle guide. Low emission vehicles not only are good for the environment but also can reduce the money spent on fuel.

The scheme is an important step towards reducing the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impact. It provides a practical measure that will assist Canberrans to make better choices when it comes to the motor vehicle they purchase. As I said earlier, it is the first scheme of its type in Australia and it is a great credit to this government and to this community. It is an enormous pity that, in relation to an Australian first—a very significant scheme in terms of leadership—the Liberal Party in this place slinks straight to its traditional position, refusing to accept that this is the most significant issue facing this community, Australia and the world. At every test in relation to climate change, our opponents, the Liberal Party in this place, fail. They failed in government. They achieved nothing.

At an earlier sitting of the Assembly we discovered that, in their last budget when in government, they appropriated the grand total of $240,000 to implement measures. I think it was that; I would have to check. But from memory I am pretty sure that it was somewhere in the order of $240,000. A massive amount was appropriated by the Liberal Party to deal with issues of climate change!

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