Page 2382 - Week 06 - Thursday, 10 May 2012

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The commissioner’s report makes a significant contribution to our understanding and planning on how this work can be implemented. I would like to thank the commissioner, Mr Neil, and his staff and advisory members who contributed to this report. I commend it to the Assembly.

Environment—climate change

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, 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 Hunter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of evaluating the ACT’s performance in delivering climate change initiatives.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (3.13): I am very glad to be able to bring this matter of public importance to the Assembly today. The Greens are highly committed to ensuring that the ACT takes strong and ambitious action on climate change. It was in this spirit that we decided to conduct an assessment of the government’s progress on their first climate change strategy, weathering the change action plan 1.

Given that the government is currently finalising its second weathering the change action plan, we felt it particularly timely to reflect upon the first plan and to draw out key lessons that might help inform the development of action plan 2. Although we found significant shortfalls in meeting the commitments undertaken in action plan 1, we do wish to acknowledge the complexities of, and many challenges inherent in, responding to climate change as a whole. I must note that our assessment was never intended to rate the government’s progress on climate change as a whole but rather to evaluate their progress on the 43 actions committed to under action plan 1.

Taking strong action on climate change takes time. The Greens have been vocal in emphasising the urgency of taking strong action on climate change, but do not believe that this urgency justifies quick fixes or short cuts. Similarly, we understand that the outcomes of action on climate change are seldom instantaneous. Given the sentiments conveyed in their recent attacks on the Greens and the government, this is not something I think the Canberra Liberals appear to have grasped.

Returning to the details of the report card itself, I would first point out that in assessing the government’s progress we encountered a series of obstacles. These included that few of the actions were measurable in terms of the level of abatement they delivered, many actions were already underway before action plan 1 was released, and multiple actions were double-counted due to a sometimes porous delineation between the four categories into which the plan was divided.

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