Page 2735 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

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information electronically. I would love to see a much more extensive budget report produced electronically. The fact that the budget report is missing so much information is another reason to put more in—so that we do not have to spend so much time asking questions on notice, which I appreciate do take up the time of the public service. They also take up the time of MLAs and their staff in asking them.

Continuing on indicators, I am disappointed that it still is not clear how climate change analysis reporting will be integrated into the budget framework. I am not sure if this is because it is too hard or because it is more than the government actually wants to aim at. I do not think it is a difficult ask, particularly given the government’s commitment now to zero net greenhouse gas emissions and given that they need to report on greenhouse gases. We need to link our greenhouse gas emissions to our spending. We want to be able to see how much each tonne of greenhouse gas mitigation costs the ACT budget. I would have thought that that sort of approach would suit everybody in the Assembly.

Related to this I support recommendation 24, which requires an annual statement on ESD, including how greenhouse gas reductions have been taken into account in preparation of the budget. Unfortunately, the government does not agree with this recommendation. I would have to say that the estimates committee clearly did not find the current information adequate. We do need more. The problem is particularly relevant to greenhouse programs. We cannot see greenhouse gas emissions. We need measurement processes to work out the effect of our actions.

As I said in the tabling of the estimates committee report, I am particularly concerned that the lion’s share—$60 million out of $100 million—of the climate change package announced in last year’s budget seems to be devoted to tree planting programs for the arboretum and street trees. It is not clear that either of them is going to lead to a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

On this, I particularly want to note the government’s response regarding the arboretum, which is wonderful. It is said that it is soon going to table the carbon sequestration audit and also that the arboretum will reach a maximum carbon stock of around 70,000 tonnes, with 90 per cent of this sequestered within 200 years. I applaud the government for its forward thinking. I would like to see all government programs being evaluated on a 200-year basis because I totally believe that if this was the case we would all be green and sustainable. However, with respect to climate change, I think we are going to need to take some action a little bit quicker than 200 years. My other comment as far as tree planting is concerned is that a lot of it seems to be normal government expenditure repackaged as greenhouse spending.

Moving along, my colleague Ms Hunter also discussed the nation building projects.The only thing I would add is that I would like to note my hope that these projects outdo their minimum environmental requirements so that there are projects that the government and the community can be proud of, not just in one or two years because of the employment contribution they have made, but in five years, 10 years and 50 years because they are actually the things that the community wants and that they are well-built and sustainable projects.

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