Page 1033 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

regulations and possible expansion of the current wood heater buyback scheme, we will not be up to where other states and jurisdictions are heading on this issue.

Going back to 2005, Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Environment, Water and Climate Change, Mr Stanhope, upon notice about:

… the monitoring of particle levels and noxious gases at all monitoring stations in the ACT compared with the benchmarks for National Environment Protection Measures for ambient air, and could the minister specify this for each monitoring station.

Mr Stanhope’s answer was:

Particulate matter is the primary pollutant of concern for Canberra. Monitoring shows exceedences of the national standard have been recorded at all stations with most of these related to the use of solid fuelled heaters in winter. The ACT government has an ongoing program to address wood smoke, including public education and awareness programs such as the “Don’t Burn Tonight” campaign, undertakes enforcement activities, and licensing of firewood merchants. For the last four years the government has also run a successful Wood Heater Replacement Program.

Unfortunately, while the ACT government has measures to address wood smoke, the reality is that for the past four years we have not adequately tackled wood smoke in our city. People have reduced their uptake of the buyback scheme and many people remain unaware of the “don’t burn tonight” campaign. As a result, pollution in the valley remains unacceptable.

In Launceston, Tasmania, another state to have wood smoke pollution similar to the ACT, they have taken very active measures to curb the cultural practices of wood heater use while also having a broader, more accessible buyback scheme. According to the Launceston City Council’s website, replacing wood heaters with a cleaner form of heating has helped to dramatically improve Launceston’s air quality. In 2000 Launceston exceeded the national standard for air quality 38 times. However, by 2006 the number had steadily dropped to six. Since the program first began in 2001, more than 2,000 grants have been provided for the removal of wood heaters from homes in Launceston. Due to public awareness created by this initiative, thousands more households have removed their wood heaters without accessing the $500 incentive.

The wood heater replacement program in Launceston is broader than the ACT’s. Their replacement program includes fixed electric heaters with thermostatic controls, night storage heaters, electric heat pumps and bottle gas heaters. As a result, the number of wood heaters has been reduced to 8,500 in the past five years due to the increased uptake of other heating methods.

Armidale also has introduced similar strategies to deal with its own critically high levels of pollution and New Zealand has also introduced very strong regulations around the purchase of wood heaters and other heating products. It has included alternative modes of heating such as wood pellet heaters, which produce less pollution than the traditional wood heaters.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video