Page 2665 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 6 June 2012

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Water and Sewerage Regulation (Water Heaters) Amendment Bill 2012

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

Title read by Clerk.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.16): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This is another climate bill. The bill I present to the Assembly today is a bill to amend the Water and Sewerage Regulation 2001, to provide that only efficient, environmentally friendly hot-water systems may be installed in both new and existing homes and houses.

Members may remember that I presented a similar bill in 2009 and, fortunately, with the Liberal Party’s support, the part that related to new buildings was passed. This has made a difference in the ACT in that for the last three years only energy efficient hot-water services have been installed in our new houses, and I thank the Liberal Party for its support. That standard, of course, allowed solar hot water, heat pumps, and high-efficiency five-star gas and did not allow electric storage heaters in most circumstances of installations in new homes.

Unfortunately at that stage neither the Liberal nor the Labor parties were prepared to consider anything as far as existing houses were concerned. That was very short sighted because, of course, most houses in the ACT are existing houses. If we want to make a difference we need to look at both new and old. The Greens recognise most of the ACT’s housing stock already exists, and that will continue to be the case. Improving our existing housing stock is incredibly important. It was beyond me at the time why neither side supported that part of my bill, but that is the case.

When we passed the legislation last time relating to new houses we got the ACT up to the stage of being with the pack. But we have fallen behind now. In the time since 2009 other jurisdictions have actually worked on hot-water services and we have not. We have ignored the situation, which is very depressing, because I quote from the debate last time. This is what the government said:

In recognition of the environmental imperative and the government's climate change strategy, however, I make the commitment that regardless of any national implementation date or timing for introduction into national codes or standards, the ACT will introduce appropriate legislation for new and replacement water heaters in class 1 buildings by 1 May 2010, to be effective no later than 1 July 2010. This sets a realistic time frame to address the issues I have outlined and should satisfy the need to send a clear signal of the government's intent to industry and householders.

Let me just repeat this:

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