Page 133 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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those; do not have a plethora of tiny, little initiatives that are cobbled together; have three or four substantial initiatives and concentrate your effort on those. That was the recommendation of the review of the climate change strategy in 2003.

Jon Stanhope ignored it. All through the 2004 election campaign he ridiculed the existing climate change strategy, to the point where I was approached by solar scientists in this town and environmental scientists in this town and was told that Jon Stanhope had no credibility with the scientific community. And he still has no credibility with the scientific community because he will not talk to the Spark Solar people; he will not take those steps.

After the 2004 election, the Chief Minister, despite making a promise not to throw out the climate change strategy, threw it out and for nearly two years we had no climate change strategy in the ACT. And when we did get one, the weathering the change, what we got was another collection of cobbled-together little initiatives here and a bit there and a bit there. There is almost nothing substantial in the climate change strategy. First of all, there are no substantial targets and there is nothing in the climate change strategy that will put us within a hope of reaching those targets because there is nothing big enough, substantial enough, to get us to those targets.

I hope that, with the new reality that the Labor Party is facing, we will get serious about greening our economy because the people of the ACT need to have their economy diversified. And it is not just at the high end. There are plenty of green-collar jobs, as people like to call them these days, which are semi-skilled or not particularly skilled at all. When we are talking about installing insulation in roofs, it is not a particularly skilled job.

One of the things that the ACT economy is particularly bad at is providing jobs for people at the low and semi-skilled end of the market. We are moderately good at producing high-skilled jobs, highly technical jobs, but the great advantage of having a green industry is that we have a diversity of jobs across the sector—high-skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled jobs—which will truly diversify the economy and help create employment across the spectrum. Some of these jobs are well paid.

It was interesting that, when members of the opposition had discussions with Spark Solar about what they had in mind, they did make the point that many of their jobs were semi-skilled and that they were jobs that were often targeted at women because it was a process job that required a high level of attention to detail and women were better at doing those jobs than most men were. They saw that they could provide quite flexible employment to a range of women who might otherwise not be able to enter the workforce.

We have to make a decision and we have to commit ourselves to making strong steps to green our economy—for the benefit of our environment, for the benefit of our economy and for the benefit of our people—so that we find a great improvement in employment as a result of these things. I commend Ms Hunter for her MPI today. I hope that this is the beginning of a new age of green economy in the ACT.

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