Page 1511 - Week 06 - Thursday, 2 July 2020

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The government does not agree to one recommendation. This recommendation, recommendation 22, proposes an urgent assessment of air pollutant emissions from diffuse sources, to update the national pollutant inventory data. However, there is a paucity of industry in the ACT and diffuse sources are known, from air quality monitoring data, to not be a significant contributor to pollution locally.

The government nevertheless recognises the importance of air quality monitoring and, in particular, the importance of accurate and timely monitoring during events such as the bushfire smoke pollution that occurred during the 2019-20 summer. The government is currently developing an air quality strategy which will take into account the lessons from the 2019-20 summer.

The government recognises the commitment, interest and engagement of Canberra’s community in the natural environment, noted in the 2019 State of the Environment report, and the importance of such commentary and analysis to assist with ongoing management and to address data and policy challenges.

The impacts of the summer bushfires and of the COVID-19 health emergency have highlighted how important the environment of the ACT is to the regional community for recreational, aesthetic, employment and wellbeing purposes. The government is mindful of the need to facilitate and support the ongoing awareness and engagement of the community on environmental issues, and to promote the wellbeing of people and nature. Our policies are evaluated against a triple bottom line assessment and promote a sustainable development approach.

I formally table the government’s response to the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s 2019 State of the Environment report.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (2.51): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the ACT Government to freeze rates for four years.

What we have before us today are two distinct options. One option is a four-year rates freeze. The other is a quick and dirty attempted fix a few months out from an election.

I note that the government is trying to use the term “rates freeze”. It is not a rates freeze; it is just a $150 concession that they announced a few months ago and is just being knocked off people’s bills. Apparently, if your bill goes down by $150, that is a rates freeze. Apparently, if your bill goes up by $300 and then down by $150, that is a rates freeze. Apparently, anything is a rates freeze except, of course, the actual policy that the Labor Party has. Only the Canberra Liberals have a genuine commitment to not increase people’s rates in the ACT for four years.

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