Page 132 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008
And there was not very much help. If there had been help from the executive and from the resources put forward from the department, some of the mistakes that are in that legislation would not have been allowed to pass. There are a few problems with that legislation and it will need to be fixed up. The feed-in tariff will be an important tool in addressing the issues in relation to turning the ACT economy into a greener economy.
I, along with my colleagues, believe that we have a lot that we can do in the ACT and there is a lot that has been done. And people in this country are watching to see what we do in the ACT.
I had the privilege the week before last of attending the third International Solar Energy Society conference in Sydney. One of the things that people kept saying was that the ACT had the opportunity to lead the country. Because we have a parliament that has a predisposition towards doing some work in this area, because we have the feed-in tariff—and the importance of the feed-in tariff cannot be understated—we have the potential to really make a difference.
Added to that there is the fact that there are no vested interests or big technology of the dirty kind who say, “No, no, don’t go down that path.” There is no coal industry saying, “No, no, we need to have clean coal technology in the ACT,” and there are no heavy manufacturers who would want to create dirty industries.
We have everything in the ACT to make us a real solar city. But we cannot afford to have another instance like the one that we saw with the sliver-cell technology first going to Adelaide and then going overseas. We need to take advantage of the fact that we have the best minds in the country, possibly in the world, working in our city and capitalise on it. In almost everything that we do, our greatest single assets are the intellectual capacities of the people. It is our greatest natural resource.
The research capacity that you see at the Australian National University, through the work done by the Centre of Sustainable Energy Systems and the work done by Professor Lovegrove, with his big-dish technology and his ammonium transfer systems for storing solar power, is world breaking and is world beating. We need to take these people with us and ensure that we capitalise, that we commercialise these interests, that we see these things happening where they were developed—in our own universities—and that they are developed in the ACT for the benefit, first of all, of the ACT, of the ACT economy and the people who work in the ACT; after that, for the rest of the country; and, beyond that, the world. We can be world leaders but we need much more commitment than we have seen in the past seven years from the Stanhope government.
Before the 2004 election, Jon Stanhope, who was the Minister for Environment, bagged the life out of the climate change strategy that was brought forward by the Carnell/Humphries government. There were things wrong with it; there were things that needed to be done; and there was a review of that climate change strategy in 2003. The review of the climate change strategy, which was given to Jon Stanhope and never implemented, was a simple one: pick two or three or half a dozen significant measures that are going to give you substantial bang for your buck and implement