Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 August 2008) . . Page.. 3786 ..
doing too well there; we could not trust Minister Hargreaves with the task of the environment; so those portfolios went back to Mr Stanhope. Unfortunately, the Office of Sustainability, I do not believe, has yet been given the opportunity to recover.
I note that it does have that opportunity because a number of positions have been advertised there. I am not sure whether they have been filled. But there has been a split between policy and implementation and I am not sure how that is tracking. I would really love the Auditor-General to do an inquiry into how sustainability is being progressed, remembering the report she did two or three years ago.
We also saw the quiet disappearance of the sustainability expert reference group, a group of very committed people. There must have been some problem there, because the group does not exist anymore, and that diversity of expert information is not being fed into this government.
We are still waiting for our sustainability legislation. We have been told that that would make a huge difference in the development and we would have a sustainability act which would inform the way the government carries out its work, right across all the work.
On financial management guidelines, maybe that triple-bottom-line approach that we have been calling for, for the whole of this Assembly, is required. Every estimates we find out that it has not moved at all. Is there secret sustainability business going on? I hope so, because there is not a lot of open sustainability business.
There are a lot of issues. I am not denying that good work has been done. It has, but it has to be in that whole-of-government approach that every minister, having sustainability in his or her head, has in the work he or she does. Sustainability applies to the hospitals and to health, as much as it applies to the management of national parks. So it is a message that we have to put across.
The next term of government, of any political persuasion, is going to be totally crucial. I had that feeling about this term. I have worked as hard as I could to get some of the information out there and to do something. It is a little hard when you are one crossbench member, with a majority government, but it is so incumbent; it is so serious.
If we are going to tackle sustainability, we also have to remember that it is within a social context. We have to make sure that that penetrates through to those rich people who think they are going to be okay when the oceans rise. We must make sure we look at those little people, the people of Bangladesh, who will not be able to move when that river goes up, when the floods happen. We have to have in our minds, as we tackle these problems, those people who are least able to help themselves in this society. And God help the children.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (4.15): I thank Mr Gentleman for raising this matter of significant importance to the community. This government has doubled the amount of funding we provide for the environment and