Page 588 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017
future. That work needs to be done at a state level, it needs to be done at a territory level, and it needs to be done in cooperation between the states and the territories and the commonwealth. That work must be done though. We cannot stick our heads in the sand and think that somehow it is going to go away.
In terms of what I believe were the rhetorical questions put to me, yes, we have a plan to make the ACT sustainable. As I flagged in my speech today we need to start working on our plan to get to a zero net emission profile for the ACT by 2050 at the latest. I have been very clear about the fact that we are about to start public consultation on that. It is very important that we engage the community in that discussion because the sectors that remain in terms of addressing our emissions are going to be harder to address.
Electricity has been a substantial piece of policy work but technically relatively straightforward. There has been great work but, to some extent, it has been the easier work. Where it gets harder is dealing with things like our transport emissions, waste emissions, emissions from manufacturing and things like that. That is going to be a tricky area. I assure the Assembly that we will be undertaking extensive community discussions through the course of this year to help us explain to the community why it needs to be done, what some of the options are and then seek their feedback on the best options and how we most effectively get to the place we need to.
I have written to members of this place suggesting that we might have an Assembly inquiry to look at these questions. That is an option that exists for this place, that is, to examine some of those questions very closely. I am not aware yet of members’ views on that; I wrote only about a week or two ago. But that is a discussion that is there for us to have as well as to how we want to collectively discuss these challenging questions.
There were also rhetorical questions on reliability and affordability. I can ensure members this government is committed to ensuring that we have a reliable and affordable electricity supply in this territory. There are many ways to achieve that, and that is probably where the debate lies. But that reliability and affordability will come through a range of measures, including demand-side reduction, supply, the types of supply, and how the grid is dealt with over the coming years in terms of infrastructure, software and the like. Work needs to be done, but it is evident that we can achieve reliability and affordability as well as the good environmental outcomes that we know our community wants.
I thank members for their support of the motion. I will not be supporting the amendment brought forward by Ms Lee. I simply do not agree that it is appropriate to remove words like “urgency”, because this is an urgent matter. We have been told that we are getting very close to the planet’s carbon budget and that we need to urgently turn things around. If needed, I can name a range of scientists and a range of papers that are telling us that. I am happy to share those papers with colleagues in the chamber if anybody wishes to see them.
I do not agree with removing notions that we need to transition away from burning coal and other fossil fuels for electricity generation. It is patently clear we need to do