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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 June 2009) . . Page.. 2462 ..

the government’s significant budget initiative “switch your thinking”, aimed at tackling climate change.

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I am very pleased to provide an update to the Assembly on one of the key climate change initiatives funded in this year’s budget by the government, the switch your thinking initiative. This is a $19 million investment over four years in projects that will encourage Canberrans to reduce their carbon footprint, to improve the sustainability of their homes and to tackle issues such as energy, water and waste. It is another great example of the Labor government leading and investing in programs that tackle the significant climate change and sustainability challenges which our city faces. The initiative will also provide for better service delivery and will promote, inform and educate Canberrans about long-term behaviour change to improve the sustainability of our city.

The switch your thinking program is going to bring together the government’s existing rebate and incentive programs, which are currently provided by my department, and make them available to householders, businesses and government agencies. It will build on the success of existing programs and significantly expand them.

Existing and new programs will be made more accessible through a virtual one-stop shop, which will ensure consolidation and streaming of our election and parliamentary agreement commitments. This one-stop, online presence means that Canberrans will be able to find in one location, for the first time, all information relating to government—education, information, assistance, rebates and other grants and other programs that enable them to make their home more water and energy efficient and more effective in terms of managing waste.

The Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water is in the process of finalising the proposed new assistance packages, rebates and future expansion of existing programs, but the types of programs and services that are planned to be provided include a new home water audit program, incorporating water efficient dual-flush toilets, shower heads and tap flow regulators, and a new residential energy efficiency program that, while providing rebates on energy efficient appliances, domestic insulation and an improved solar hot water rebate, will also continue to provide the ACT Energy Wise Home Energy Advice Team and the West program.

It will provide assistance packages for renters and low-income earners—so, for the first time, a major emphasis on those people who are most vulnerable to the costs associated with energy, water and waste but who often, due to their income or due to their rental circumstances, are not able to influence these—by providing rebates for household energy saving additions and for energy efficient domestic whitegoods, an important social justice initiative as well as an important investment in addressing sustainability.

We will also be pursuing waste minimisation programs to assist offices and businesses to improve their recycling rates. A web-based portal will be developed, as I have said, that will provide one-stop shop access to all of these services as well as a package to assist small businesses to develop water management plans.

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