Page 1021 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 21 March 2012

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MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, did you pretend that the police investigation was current to avoid answering questions on radio, and will you make a public statement correcting the record about the time of the commencement and the completion of the police investigation?

DR BOURKE: I reject the assertion of the question.

Health—air pollution

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and Chief Minister, and concerns the health impacts of particulate matter air pollution in the ACT. Minister, as you know, air particle pollution, known as PM2.5 and PM10, is known to cause heart and lung diseases, as well as serious childhood illnesses. Wood heaters are the main source of this pollution in the ACT, in particular in the Tuggeranong valley. Minister, has the government considered introducing a health-based emissions standard for wood heaters given the current standard is over a decade old and allows more than four times the level of pollution permitted in leading jurisdictions?

MR CORBELL: I will take the question as minister for the environment with responsibility for the national environment protection measures concerning particulate matter in the air, such as wood smoke. The issue of national standards for wood heaters in Australia is currently under review as part of the National Environment Protection Council, the annual report of which I tabled in the Assembly yesterday. I would draw Ms Bresnan’s attention to that report, which provides an update on the latest state of play in relation to the regulation of particulate standards for wood smoke from wood heaters.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary.

MS BRESNAN: Given the serious health impacts of air pollution, have you ensured that the monitoring equipment used by health protection services can report and publicise air pollution data in real time for both PM2.5 and PM10 standards? If not, why not, and when will this be addressed?

MS GALLAGHER: Those matters are currently before the government and, indeed, some additional resourcing that is required. So those are under active consideration.

MS LE COUTEUR: Supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, from a health perspective have you considered extending the wood heater buyback program to allow people to replace their wood heaters with options other than gas heating, such as environmentally compatible heating options or low pollution wood heaters?

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