Page 117 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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Yes, there are some positive steps being taken in the area of capital works; I acknowledge those and we welcome those. But what this plan lacks is the detail of how we are going to go beyond just capital works to staff those facilities and provide that health system that we need here in the ACT. My real concern from this plan? No more GPs? Do we have more nurses? Are we training more doctors? Are we just doing what we do now, which is spending a lot of money but not getting a lot of outcome?

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Greening the ACT economy

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Burch): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Ms Burch, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth, proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Hunter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

Greening the ACT economy.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (5.12): As everyone here is aware, the world economy is in the grip of a global financial crisis. Equally, we are all aware of climate change. In addition, the world has a finite quantity of oil. It is likely that we have already reached peak oil production, and if not we will reach it in the next few years. These three factors mean that business as usual is not viable for the future. Today, I will raise how the ACT government can help the ACT to move from business as usual to a new green economy.

First, I will look at some overseas examples of regional government taking a proactive role to create a green economy. In the United Arab Emirates, the government of Abu Dhabi has started the Masdar city project. Masdar will rely entirely on solar and other renewable energy sources. It aims to create a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The city will be home to 50,000 people, which makes it similar in size to the Molonglo development. It is expected to cost $US22 billion. Ironically, of course, this is financed by oil revenues, but it does show what can be done in a new development.

A more financially modest example can be found in Rizhao, a coastal city of nearly three million on the Shandong Peninsula in northern China. In Rizhao, which means “city of sunshine” in Chinese, 99 per cent of households in the central districts use solar water heaters, and most traffic signals, street and park lights are powered by photovoltaic solar cells. In the suburbs and villages, more than 30 per cent of households use solar water heaters, and over 6,000 households have solar cooking facilities. The Shandong provincial government achieved this partially by providing subsidies. However, instead of subsidising the end users, as we do, the government funded the research and development for the solar water heater industry with the aim of reducing the cost of the heaters. In addition, the city requires all new buildings to incorporate solar panels.

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