Page 857 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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It shows, for example, that 16,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year can be saved by recovering organic material from our waste streams that would otherwise go to landfill.

Just implementing cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities across our economy can save over half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Nearly 1¬Ĺ¬†million tonnes can be saved each year by transitioning to large-scale renewable energy sources using abundant solar, wind and biomass resources in our region. Combined, these three strategies have us meeting our targets in 2020 while growing our city, supporting jobs and continuing to care for low income families across the community.

One of the great features of the plan is the unprecedented level of transparency it provides regarding estimated costs and savings from the various energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. The modelling and key assumptions are there for all to see. What does it tell us? Firstly, it tells us that the move to 90 per cent renewable energy to achieve our 2020 abatement targets results in an estimated 16 per cent increase in household electricity bills.

Secondly, it tells us that this increase is unlikely to diminish the large electricity price advantage we maintain over all other jurisdictions, including the 53 per cent price advantage we have over NSW household electricity consumers. Even after achieving our 2020 targets, we are still likely to have the lowest residential electricity prices in the nation.

It tells us that the economic impact of achieving our 2020 target by pursuing renewables, before energy efficiency benefits are taken into account, is equivalent to delaying the achievement of our business usual economic output in 2050 by three months. That is a three-month delay over 37 years.

But, most importantly, it tells us that the value of energy savings for the community through improving the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses, and embracing better public transport and innovations in low emission vehicles, can more than offset the cost of renewables. We can and must achieve our targets, and the government, through the plan, has the plan to do it.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.14): The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting this self-congratulatory motion from the government. I go straight to paragraph (2) where it says:

resolves that Canberra as a city must continue to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

When you look for a comprehensive strategy it is hard to find. If you look at the first seven years of this lot in office, they did not even have a strategy. Suddenly in 2007, when Kevin Rudd declared climate change as the great moral challenge of our time, Minister Stanhope and his government woke up. Until that time nothing happened, unlike the previous Liberal government that signed up to Kyoto. It was the first government to put out a draft greenhouse gas strategy and indeed the first government to actually have a strategy in place.

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