Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 October 2017) . . Page.. 4382 ..
2020, where we have a commitment from all three major parties to work toward a sensible, practical, public discussion on how the ACT will remain a leader in this sector, we have a motion with a mish-mash of airy-fairy statements which completely ignore the realities of how we will safeguard reliability and cost of energy for all Canberrans.
We need sound, evidence-based policy, not atmospheric speeches such as the one the Chief Minister delivered in October last year when, gloating over his election success, he said:
We have been re-elected to join California and South Australia as signatories to the Under2 MOU and to set firm targets to get the zero emissions by 2050. We will do both of these things within the first 100 days.
It is now 360 days since the Chief Minister made that statement and we have today a Labor backbencher calling on his own government to:
… develop a strategy with firm, interim targets for the ACT to reach zero net emissions and carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, in line with the Labor-Greens Agreement for the 9th Legislative Assembly.
The adage that you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time comes to mind.
The Canberra Liberals have confirmed our support for the 100 per cent renewable energy target for 2020 and we have demonstrated that we are prepared to have an open and honest debate about what is possible in the ACT to improve our environmental footprint. We accepted the ACT government’s earlier claims that moving to a renewable energy platform would save money for ACT ratepayers and deliver lower energy costs. In that instance we had concrete action. We had contracts providing certainty of cost. We had innovative reverse auction processes.
What we now see is a government lost on how to move the energy debate forward, with a 2020 deadline fast approaching. Subsidies and grants to attract support do not make energy affordable. Motions calling on the government to do something a year after an election promise do not make energy viable. The Chief Minister takes almost every opportunity to remind us that his government was elected to take Canberra into the future, and this government is all too quick to take credit for being miles ahead in investing and innovating in this sector. But the reality is that when this government talks of sustainability that is all it is—talk. There is nothing environmentally sustainable about a future that is not also economically and socially sustainable.
MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (5.55): I would like to thank Mr Steel very much for bringing on this important motion today. I am still reeling somewhat from the speech from the opposition spokesperson on this matter, but I think it stands on its own merits or lack thereof.
The government continues to deliver on its election commitment to make Canberra a more sustainable city by reducing the carbon emissions caused by many factors but,