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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 12 February 2009) . . Page.. 769 ..

energy. Unlike other jurisdictions, the ACT scheme offers premium payments for every unit of clean energy generated. That means that the payback period for the investment made in the generating equipment is greatly reduced. On an average installation for a household, the payback is reduced from about 20 years to about 11.

The scheme makes environmentally responsible investment affordable for the average Canberran. The government has proposed a premium price that ensures that investment in solar or renewable generation is compatible with other long-term investment options, such as a bank deposit. For the private householder, this income is tax free.

I am advised that almost 200 solar systems have been installed over the past 10 months in anticipation of the scheme coming into effect, with another 120 installations currently pending. Modest projections of 100 additional units per month point to the stimulus this scheme will provide to renewable energy and to its acceptance and support in the community.

The introduction of this scheme is an important plank of the government’s commitment to making Canberra the solar capital. We are also pursuing this aim through initiatives such as the solar farm, for which we are shortly to seek expressions of interest, and through our election commitments to protect solar access rights and to maintain solar-passive design in new estates. They are matters being addressed by my colleague, Mr Barr.

Through the release of the draft interim energy policy in the coming months I will be outlining further initiatives to promote the uptake of renewable energy. The ACT is leading the way. Labor’s commitment to a solar capital is coming to fruition, and we will continue to work hard on these matters.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Ms Burch?

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the minister explain how this legislation can assist the Canberra community to participate in the fight against climate change?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Burch for the supplementary. The ACT climate change strategy outlines 43 actions to prepare the community for the effects of climate change. The feed-in tariff is one element of that strategy. Government agencies are making good progress with implementing these initiatives. However, the strategy has noted that the ACT government’s own emissions make up only five per cent of total ACT emissions. The answer to reducing climate change impacts very much rests with the whole community. The problem is shared; the solution must be as well.

Many Canberrans have raised with me their concerns about climate change and the future of our city. Many express a feeling of frustration and confusion over what they as individuals can do. All too often the problem can seem too daunting. The government has introduced a number of programs to assist Canberrans of all ages in participating to meet this challenge. Some are as simple as advice on energy efficiency or the benefits of buying locally raised food. Others involve financial support for improvements to housing or appliances. Still more involve raising awareness in young people through innovative school programs.

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