Page 576 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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This pathway to zero net emissions must be a top priority for this government and this Assembly. It requires us to work together. It requires reform in many challenging areas, including transport, the built environment, waste and gas. It will require investment, reforms in government, and acceptance and efforts in the community.

As far as I am aware, all of these targets have the support of the community. I urge members to support this motion and reaffirm that we are determined to make a difference here in the ACT, to do our part and to work together to deliver what the science tells us we need to be doing.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (11.04): I welcome the opportunity to speak to the motion brought on for debate by ACT Greens leader and minister in the Barr government, Mr Rattenbury. Madam Speaker, the ACT has a strong record of embracing modern technology and sustainable practices across a number of areas. From our early development we have been universally known as the bush capital, and that reputation plays an important part in our tourism campaigns which help promote Canberra to a wider demographic. And, most importantly, it is an integral part of what defines our identity in Australia and beyond.

The pioneering planning work done by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin set out a modern city that would balance sustainability and livability well into the future. Over 100 years later we see the value in that investment and their vision has been well proven. Our early pine plantings around the ridges, our transport corridors, our national parks have all contributed to our image as one of the world’s most livable cities.

Uniquely among Australian cities, we have first-class lifestyle choices: wonderful walking and equestrian trails, an extensive bicycling network, as the minister probably is very familiar with, the centennial trail and walking trail. The National Botanic Gardens, the more recently established National Arboretum and the significant number of national parks and our management of endangered species—all of them contribute to make Canberra a desirable place to visit and live. I note also that much of this environmental focus in our bush capital was well established before the formation of the ACT Greens as a political party here in our national capital.

The Canberra Liberals have a long, proud history of commitment to renewable energy. In 1997 the then minister for the environment, Gary Humphries, announced that the ACT government would work towards reducing the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below the 1990 levels by 2018—at that time, an ambitious and bold step. In the last Assembly the Canberra Liberals formed part of the tripartisan support for the current targets of 100 per cent renewable energy and reduction of 1990 levels of emissions by 2020 and zero net emissions by 2050. I am proud to stand here today to reaffirm our commitment to these targets. This probably comes as no surprise as it was likely a clear and obvious progression, given our size and natural predisposition to the protection and love of our natural environment and the ACT’s tendency to embrace new technology and sustainable practices in the area.

Our size makes us a highly suitable candidate for success in this space and in fact we have proven so by having some of the most ambitious targets to combat climate

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