Page 4075 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011

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University of Canberra Act—

University of Canberra (Granting of Status) Revocation Statute 2011—Disallowable Instrument DI2011-226 (LR, 25 August 2011).

University of Canberra (Liquor) Statute 2011—Disallowable Instrument DI2011-243 (LR, 25 August 2011).

Victims of Crime Act—Victims of Crime Amendment Regulation 2011 (No 1)—Subordinate Law SL2011-25 (LR, 22 August 2011).

Workers Compensation Act—Workers Compensation Amendment Regulation 2011 (No 1)—Subordinate Law SL2011-27 (LR, 1 September 2011).

Environment—ecological footprint

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Speaker has received letters from Dr Bourke, Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Bresnan be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The ecological footprint and the ACT.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (3.25): Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this vital matter of public importance; namely, the ecological footprint and the ACT. I want to look at whether the ACT government is truly ready and willing to respond to reducing our footprint here in the ACT. Indeed, I am going to draw on the government’s own submission to the inquiry into the ecological carrying capacity of the ACT and region, where they claim that they have a wealth of current and planned initiatives in the ACT designed to reduce the environmental impact of human activity. The Greens believe this is a laudable aspiration on behalf of the government. However, we need more than words and rhetoric.

Last sitting we had an MPI about the cost of living, typically couched in terms of dollars spent to support an average Canberran’s lifestyle. However, if you pause for a moment and think about what “cost of living” really means, where short and long-term social and ecological costs are also factored in, it starts to take a very different meaning. The Greens have been pushing for a triple bottom line approach which takes these other costs, with the analysis of ecological footprint being one such approach.

I note that the ACT government has also made a strong commitment to this approach in the people, place, prosperity document, a new triple bottom line section in the annual reporting process and the online report card measuring our progress. However, we are concerned that many of the deemed undesirable trends are not being reversed, as I will elaborate on later.

The definition of ecological footprint from the carrying capacity inquiry is:

… measure of the area of land needed to support the lifestyles of urban residents; it includes raw materials for food, building, energy and so on, as well as the area

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