Page 2335 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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department is working across government to ensure there is integration of environmental policy, regulation and service delivery.

Through the 2009-10 budget, the government made significant commitments to address the changes needed to achieve a more sustainable future for the territory. A key initiative in this budget that addresses better service delivery and promotes, informs and educates long-term behaviour change is the switch your thinking program. Through this initiative the government is committing $19.1 million over four years to bring together and expand our existing rebate and incentive programs for households, businesses and government agencies. It will introduce new programs to assist Canberrans, made more accessible through a virtual one-stop shop, with information on rebates and information and guidance on ways to reduce their carbon footprint, improve energy and water efficiency in their homes and tackle waste issues in their businesses or offices.

For water, the virtual one-stop shop will include information on how to access the toilet smart and commercial bathroom retrofit programs, rainwater tank rebates and incentive programs that target the low-income sector as well as audit-based advice on water efficient gardening and in-ground irrigation systems. For energy, there will be information on an enhanced ACT energy wise program that incorporates key elements for government selection commitments, the parliamentary agreement and the government’s climate change strategy as well as information on obtaining solar panel rebates and assistance to low-income earners to install energy efficient appliances, insulation and window coverings. For waste, there will be support for the business, government and community sectors to reduce waste through a web-based education and advice service, including case studies and best practice guides.

Switch your thinking will enable Canberrans to change their everyday lives in ways that will both save resources and help contribute to achieving zero net emissions. The switch your thinking virtual one-stop shop and rebate and incentive programs are planned to be in place by the end of July this year.

The government is also providing funding in this year’s budget to a number of initiatives that directly respond to the commissioner’s recommendations in relation to resource use. These include: $483,000 over two years to conduct widespread industry consultation and develop a future waste strategy for the ACT targeting business, electronic and organic waste in order to overcome the obstacles to recovery of recycling from the commercial waste stream and so further reducing waste to landfill; $85,000 to allow the government to engage with the community on the issue of how to best reduce the use of plastic bags in the ACT; $3.3 million over four years for the Mugga Lane recycling transfer station to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and increase the amount of material that is recycled; and $2 million over two years to provide incentives to owners of commercial properties to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and complement the government’s earlier commitment of $600,000 over two years for the commercial bathroom retrofit program with incentives to improve the water efficiency of commercial buildings.

The government has also responded positively in this year’s budget in the areas of water use and biodiversity conservation with: $13.9 million over two years to

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