Page 1079 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009
down, not going up. I do not imagine that a $12.7 million program targeted to areas mostly outside residential construction will have the resulting impact of those prices going up. Come on! Are you for the appropriation or are you against the appropriation? This is $12.7 million a year, $25 million over two years, targeted to areas where we are responding to our community.
Our community is telling us, “We have concerns that we will have to lay off staff in areas such as this.” We have got the opportunity to invest in our community asset base, at a time when there is some uncertainty and there is not the amount of investment that we have seen in previous years, and the government has responded. And we have responded in a responsible way. I imagine that all of those businesses that get work out of this package, or some certainty about work over the next few months, will be very pleased that the government has responded.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?
MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, have you asked Treasury to perform modelling on the impact of this appropriation bill on residential construction costs and housing affordability in the ACT?
MS GALLAGHER: No, I have not.
MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water. Minister, last year, on 15 December, the federal government released its white paper on the carbon emissions trading scheme. On 11 December last year, you indicated to the Assembly that you would be reviewing the CPRS in relation to the concerns raised by the Australia Institute that voluntary action to reduce emissions by the ACT would under the CPRS in its current form only result in freeing up permits for others to pollute. Minister, have you received any assurances from the federal government, either through the COAG process or directly from the federal climate change minister, that this problem will be addressed prior to the CPRS legislation being tabled in the federal parliament?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. I have raised this issue with the commonwealth, first of all through a meeting—the most recent meeting—of ministers at the Ministerial Council on Energy, which I attended earlier this month. At that meeting, I raised with officials from the Department of Climate Change who were giving a presentation on the detailed operation of the CPRS this particular concern as raised by the Australia Institute and indicated the ACT government’s concern with that approach. The commonwealth is of the view—this is expressed at official level—that the design of what they call the gateways, which determine the total amount of permits that will be made available at any particular period of the scheme, can be adjusted to have regard to changes in emissions on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis.
This is not, I think, an adequate answer and does not fully comprehend the issue at play. I have therefore raised this issue with the Senate committee that has been established to investigate the CPRS and I have outlined to that committee in