Page 3722 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 September 2018

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Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Principal Target) Amendment Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 23 August 2018, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (4.41): The Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Principal Target) Amendment Bill seeks to amend the ACT’s already ambitious target of zero net emissions by 2050 to 2045. The minister has stated that this reduced goal can be achieved largely through the improved technology which has developed in recent years and that no additional steps would be required to achieve the 2045 goal. So it begs the question as to whether a bill to reduce the target is necessary if the goal will be achieved anyway.

In supporting the ACT government’s ambitious targets and goals in achieving 100 per cent renewable energy, the Canberra Liberals have firmly put on the record that our support was subject to reliability and affordability of power for all Canberrans. In the briefing on this bill my office has had from the minister’s staff and a directorate official, we have been assured that this new target will not impose any appreciable cost upon the community. We have also been assured that work is under way and that the government is confident the new 2045 target will be met comfortably. Accordingly, the Canberra Liberals will not be opposing the bill.

However, the government’s interim targets, which have been set out in disallowable instruments, will be of interest to the opposition and the people of Canberra to assess progress and to ensure that these ambitious targets are not just simply words on paper. I look forward to the minister keeping Canberrans updated regularly on the exact mechanisms that the government will be undertaking to achieve these goals, including confirming what action is being taking to make sure there is no unnecessary cost burden on the Canberra community.

In briefings and in the media, the minister notes that the more challenging goal to achieve will be the 50 to 60 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2025. In the briefing on this bill we quite reasonably asked what steps and strategies were available to achieve this goal. We received no meaningful answer to this question. Instead, we were told to await the forthcoming release of the three emissions reductions strategies.

The strategies in transport, planning, and climate emissions are being compiled now, and we were unable to get any detail about these strategies. As such, my colleagues and I are not in a position to keep our constituents updated about the steps and methods that the government will be taking to achieve its goals, not because of lack of interest, but simply because the government has put the cart before the horse and set goals before the tools to achieve them are known.

This creates a circular proposition of, “We have to do this to achieve the goals,” and then, “Because we did that, we have to achieve the goal early, so let’s set another more ambitious goal”. Will bringing forward by five years the ACT‘s goal of zero net

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