Page 2661 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 6 June 2012

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Planning and Development (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets) Amendment Bill 2012

Ms Le Couteur, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

What I am presenting to the Assembly here today is a bill which seeks to align our planning system with our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We all know that the Assembly has committed to the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. What we do not yet know is all the details of how we will achieve this. This bill is about ensuring that what happens in the ACT, the development and construction that happens in the ACT, does not inadvertently make the task harder. It is about ensuring that the way we build the ACT is consistent with our long-term aims.

Underlining the importance of this is information that was recently put out by the US government, by part of the US Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It found that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Barrow, Alaska, reached 400 parts per million this spring. While atmospheric concentrations have been that high in urban areas, where there is obviously significant production of CO2, this is unprecedented in terms of a remote area. It is the first time that a monthly average has achieved the 400 parts per million mark in a remote area. Average global levels of CO2 were 390.4 parts per million in 2011, according to measurements from the same organisation, NOAA. It believes that it would mean that the average worldwide will reach around 400 parts per million by about 2016. Just by way of comparison, members may like to be reminded that before the industrial revolution started in the 1880s, average global CO2 concentration was 280 parts per million. As we all know here, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and this is going to significantly affect our climate system. This is already significantly affecting our climate system.

As members may remember, I first presented this bill as an exposure draft in February. Since then I have had discussions with the relevant professional organisations—the Institute of Architects, the Planning Institute, the engineers, the Master Builders Association and the Housing Institute. I have also had discussions with a number of the community councils. I think it is fair to say in summary that all of them felt that,

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