Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 8 June 2017) . . Page.. 2103 ..
I agree with Ms Lawder that we are not in a satisfactory situation, but I will not be supporting her amendment on the basis that, while worthy and well meaning, it does not actually really advance the situation, unfortunately.
MS LEE (Kurrajong) (11.42): In speaking to this omnibus bill, the PBELAB, I accept that it makes administrative sense to combine a number of otherwise unrelated amendments for the Assembly to deal with, notwithstanding that it makes for some complicated tracking in parts.
As the minister stated in his introductory speech in presenting this bill in the March sitting week, the purpose of PBELAB is to allow “various amendments to be consolidated into a single bill” to enable it to provide an “effective means of keeping legislation up to date and responding quickly to changing circumstances”. Equally, the explanatory statement provided with the bill is indicative of the mixed nature of this legislation.
The bill before us combines policy amendments with technical and editorial amendments across 10 acts. I intend to focus on those impacting on the environment portfolio. My colleague Ms Lawder has addressed, and will further discuss in the detail stage, the issues affecting heritage and naming of public places changes.
First, I address the policy amendments. There are two policy amendments contained in the bill. These amendments relate to the Emergency Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act and the Nature Conservation Act. The minister described both of these amendments as non-controversial and as changes designed to improve the effectiveness of each piece of legislation.
The first amendment in clause 12 relates to the power to share compliance information under section 28C of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012. This act established the energy efficiency improvement scheme, or EEIS, that I queried in annual reports hearings earlier this year.
The objects of the EEIS are to: encourage the efficient use of energy; reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with stationary energy use in the territory; reduce household and business energy use and costs; and increase opportunities for priority households to reduce energy use and costs. In his introductory speech, the minister gave some examples of activities that are eligible under the EEIS, including low-energy lighting and thermally efficient glazing.
To ensure the proper and efficient operation of the scheme, it is important that compliance and administrative powers under the act are working effectively. Currently the act gives the scheme administrator power to share compliance information with administrators of similar schemes in other jurisdictions. However, the wording in section 28C(1)(b) is limited in its relatively prescriptive format and does not seem to accurately reflect the original intent.