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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 June 2009) . . Page.. 2693 ..

This government identified the importance of maintaining the momentum to improve Canberra central and build on the success of the significant developments that have remodelled Civic over the past four years. The 2009-10 budget identifies $12 million over four years for the Canberra CBD upgrade program, and priorities for this expenditure will be coordinated through an agreed action plan.

In December 2008 the government demonstrated its commitment to sustainability and climate change by establishing the new Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water. In establishing the new department the government supported a substantial funding boost so that it has significant policy and planning capacity across the key areas of climate change, renewable energy, water security and environmental sustainability.

The sustainable future program is part of an ACT government commitment to building resilience to climate change through both mitigation and adaptation measures. This program focuses on reviewing planning policy and identifying strategies and measures that complement the sustainability policy and climate change strategy. Its underlying aim is to create a planning policy framework for more sustainable living.

In a major step towards securing the ACT’s water future, on 25 March this year the government approved Actew building the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline and buying water which would be stored in and then released from Tantangara Dam. Actew has also commenced the planning approval of stages for the enlarged Cotter Dam, including the lodgement of the project’s environmental impact statement with the ACT Planning and Land Authority.

On 12 May the government announced a long-term target for the ACT of zero greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is outlined in the ACT government’s submission to the Assembly inquiry into ACT greenhouse gas reduction targets, together with a reaffirmation of the commitment to legislate greenhouse gas reduction targets.

On 15 May the government announced the formal calling of expressions of interest in the proposed ACT solar power facility. The EOI is the first step in a two-stage process, with the request for detailed proposals set to follow the formal evaluation of the expressions of interest.

Last year, 2008-09, saw the introduction of an additional 16 compressed natural gas buses into the ACTION bus fleet. The new buses reduce the environmental impact by producing fewer emissions than the older vehicles that they will replace. In addition, the new buses allow disability access, providing greater accessibility for customers. In 2009-10 ACTION will continue its fleet replacement program, with 100 new buses to be acquired over the next four years.

From 1 July 2009, the government has committed $7 million over four years to introduce an additional four weeks paid maternity leave and an additional week of bonding leave for the ACT public service. Extending paid maternity leave is a significant initiative in making the ACT public service an employer of choice. It supports the economic independence of women and their access to the labour market,

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