Page 3452 - Week 09 - Thursday, 20 August 2009

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MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Yes, I was fully aware that changes would be made. It is an issue that the minister has raised with me over the last couple of months. We have had some conversations within the context of the method, the change, the dates of the change and consultation and conversations that the minister has had with others. I am not aware of the detail of those, but I was aware of the minister’s intentions. I have not been involved in the implementation of those intentions and I am not privy to discussions or consultations that the minister may or may not have had.

Planning—Building Code of Australia

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Planning and concerns the Australian Building Codes Board’s draft changes to the Building Code of Australia which would require new houses to have energy efficient hot-water systems. Minister, the board drafted specific provisions to implement the hot-water efficiency changes, and asked for submissions on them by 3 August. Did the government make a submission and will you please tell the Assembly if it supported the board’s proposed approach?

MR BARR: The government has, of course, been heavily involved in discussions at a national level, both through my portfolio and through the portfolio of the minister for the environment, Mr Corbell. He represents the ACT government on the Ministerial Council on Energy, which has been involved in some quite detailed discussions in relation to this matter that stem from the Council of Australian Governments deliberations. There is a detailed policy paper that underpins the decision of all Australian governments that goes back to, I believe, December of last year, and then obviously lead-up papers, as is the nature of ministerial council work.

The ACT government, through various officials in both the ACT Planning and Land Authority and the new Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, have been heavily involved in those discussions. As to whether there is a written submission that is publicly available, again, I will have to check. I am sure there has been considerable written comment between jurisdictions. As to how much of that is publicly available, I will check, and if there is information I can helpfully provide to the member, it will be my pleasure to do so.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you. Mr Barr, given that the Greens’ hot-water bill almost exactly incorporates the provisions drafted by the board, did the comments that various ministers made in this discussion include things like “the substance is poor”, “it is full of holes like Swiss cheese”, “it is a piece of rubbish” and “it needs a complete rewrite”? Can you please explain the differences between the board’s draft and the Greens’ bill?

MR BARR: I thank the member for Molonglo for asking the question. There are a number of issues in relation to implementation dates, consultation, technical matters, that I raised in my speech yesterday. And I do stand by my remarks that the Greens’ bill, in its second incarnation, the first one having been withdrawn, should have been renamed the “Swiss cheese bill” because it was full of holes.

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