Page 2318 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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Whilst the ACT surges ahead with this vision of renewables as a key area of diversified economy, what can we say of the vision of our federal colleagues? In one of the first acts of the newly elected Liberal federal government, they abolished the Climate Commission in September 2013—Australia’s hottest year on record. Think here of the mythical ostrich with its head buried in the sand. The independent Climate Council carries on the work of the former Federal Labor Government’s Climate Commission which was set up to provide accurate and timely information as a credible Australian authority on climate change and our progress in addressing it. In 10 days the new, independent Climate Council raised over $1 million from public subscriptions to maintain a voice of an independent authority on climate change.

In its first year the Climate Council was very busy issuing a range of reports including the 2014 report titled, The Australian renewable energy race: which states are winning or losing? This report makes it clear that the ACT is one of the national renewable energy leaders. It says South Australia and the ACT with progressive renewable energy policies and targets are winning the Australian renewable energy race.

The ACT has the most ambitious renewable energy target of any jurisdiction in Australia. We aim to source 90 per cent of its electricity supply from renewables by 2020. In terms of renewable energy consumption, the ACT is already ahead of most other states on a per capita basis, currently sourcing around 20 per cent of that electricity from renewable sources. Recently, in the lead-up to the UN Bonn climate change conference, the ACT was recognised through a joint report of the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Climate Group and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as having the equal second highest emissions reduction target of any state or region in the world. The ACT was the only Australian state or region on the list.

In the lead-up to the Brisbane G20 summit last year the world’s largest economies—the USA and China—signed agreements to lock in targets to address climate change. World leaders were eager to talk climate change at the G20, while our Prime Minister embarrassingly did his best to keep it off the agenda. President Obama had to go off to speak at the University of Queensland to make his call for action on climate change. He also made a special plea to save the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef from damage from rising seas and global warming. Our Prime Minister’s response was to whinge to world leaders that Australians did not support a tax on going to the doctor.

While the ACT government is thinking globally, we are very much acting locally. As the Climate Council report I mentioned earlier said, the ACT is punching above its weight in terms of effective emissions reductions targets. I commend Ms Porter’s motion to the Assembly.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.24 to 2.30 pm.

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