Page 3789 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008
We are also making sure public transport is a viable option to Canberra commuters, with new and improved ACTION routes and timetables and allowing bike users to travel for free on ACTION buses.
Just over a year on from the release of Weathering the Change, progress has been substantial. We have legislated for the nation’s most advanced and most generous feed-in tariff. We have also required energy retailers to offer new customers green power as the product of first choice, making what was an opt-in scheme an opt-out scheme.
We have worked on a differential stamp duty for vehicles, depending on their fuel efficiency. Indeed, it was with great pleasure that that legislation passed the Assembly last week. The differential stamp duty scheme becomes operational next week. We have pursued, and it has to be said, legislation which the Liberal Party could not find it within themselves to support and I would be interested to see any contributions by the Liberal Party in relation to climate change or greenhouse gas emissions when they baulk at supporting a simple, direct program such as the differential stamp duty for green vehicles legislation. I think it will stand forever almost as a hallmark of the extent to which the Liberal Party are not prepared to take any decision, let alone tough decisions, in relation to the issue of climate change.
We have pursued energy efficiency at our own government buildings, including introducing solar lighting at places like Macarthur House. We have installed thousands of efficient light bulbs in our street lights and, within months, every government agency will have a resource management plan in place.
Our ACTION public transport fleet will be replaced with new natural gas buses, with 16 buses due for delivery in October. More than 100 water efficiency audits and trial energy audits have been undertaken at businesses, schools, offices, clubs and hotels. More than half of all Canberra schools are now involved in the Australian sustainable schools initiative, a commonwealth-territory partnership that aims to make schools carbon neutral by 2017.
We have transformed our entire government car fleet to four-cylinder cars. We are protecting our precious natural environment by putting an additional 1,460 hectares of woodland and grassland to reserves, including the Goorooyarroo and Callum Brae reserves.
We are working on the corroboree frog recovery program and restoring our stagnant bog habitats which are an important part of the ACT’s water supply. We have created the stunning and award winning new sanctuary at Tidbinbilla and are about to receive the results of a study we commissioned into feasibility of a solar farm for the ACT. This has the potential to take us down a new road into sustainable electricity generation.
The greenhouse gas abatement scheme is the single most effective abatement measure currently available to the territory. Between 2005 and 2007 this scheme reduced greenhouse emissions in the ACT by 926,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 215,000 vehicles off our roads. The ACT government currently purchases 23 per cent of its power requirements from green sources. We plan to review this this year to set