Page 559 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 19 February 2020

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Interestingly, our total footprint peaked in 2009-10. It has in fact decreased by nearly 11 per cent, despite population growth of over 16 per cent to 2017-18. That is really good. It is because the ACT’s per capita footprint has fallen by nearly a quarter from 2003-04 to 2017-18. The decrease means that, instead of the ACT having the highest per capita footprint in Australia, we now have one that is the same as the average for Australia, which is very much a step forward.

The decline in our per capita footprint is very positive. Of course, having looked at it, I assumed it would be due to our use of renewable energy. That is partially the case. This has led to the impact of energy use declining from six per cent to four per cent of our total footprint. Interestingly, food dominates most ecological footprints, including our ecological footprint, due to the large amount of land required for the average diet. In the ACT food accounts for a whopping 50 per cent of our total footprint. This huge environmental impact of food is one of the reasons that I moved my motion about plant-based food last year. I was disappointed that other parties did not support it.

Some of the other reasons that our footprint has gone down include more consumption of services such as education and health, and cost of living pressures, which have led to some decrease in consumption.

Looking at it more globally, according to the Global Footprint Network, an ecological footprint of 1.7 hectares per capita is the limit for a sustainable earth if you distribute the world’s space equally, given the current population. But the ACT’s ecological footprint per capita is 5.24 hectares, and the per capita footprint of the ACT is 3.8 times higher than 1.7 hectares. For all of the world to have the ACT’s ecological footprint we would need to have 3.8 earths, but we only have one.

The ACT often claims to be leading the nation as a clean and green jurisdiction, but we have only just reduced our ecological footprint to the Australian average and we are in the order of three times the global sustainable footprint. It is clear that more has to be done from the point of view of environmental sustainability as well as equity between Australia and other nations.

I commend the State of the environment report to the Assembly. I hope that we can use it and the considerable work behind it to learn from it, to lead the ACT to a more sustainable future and hopefully influence the rest of Australia in this regard.

Death cafes

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (6.33): “Death” and “cafe” are two common words, but two words you might not often see side by side. But a death cafe is exactly what I attended this past Sunday. For the last little while Vickie Hingston-Jones has been hosting death cafes in Canberra. There are no rules. There is no agenda. It is simply a group of people gathered at a cafe, letting the conversation wander in a direction that they choose but all around the theme of death.

Why death? It is because we simply do not talk about it enough. This was, indeed, a finding in last year’s report of the end of life choices committee, which recommended

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