Local leadership, global change: ACT climate action on track

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The ACT Government has today welcomed the recommendations of a report by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Professor Kate Auty, on the implementation of the ACT’s climate change strategy.

The Implementation Status Report on the ACT Government’s Climate Change Policy is the second ACT plan to address the urgent challenge of climate change.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the report provided a number of excellent suggestions to help the ACT continue its significant progress towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.

To maintain accountability and transparency, every three years the Government invites this independent audit of the Government’s action on climate change. The Government has agreed to 16 of the 17 recommendations, and notes one other. These include:

  • Agreed: Transport is the biggest climate change mitigation challenge: The report notes that transport is the biggest climate change mitigation challenge for the ACT. It recommends significant commitment to policy development, action and targets to ensure the ACT continues its reputation as a climate change policy leader and driver of change. The Government agrees with this recommendation.

  • Agreed: Service delivery: The Government agrees with the recommendation that addressing and adapting to climate change is a key priority of how we deliver services in the Territory, and this needs to be backed up with consistent and significant funding.

  • Agreed: Community engagement: The Government also agrees with the Commissioner’s finding that community engagement in discussions about climate change policy is fundamental to effective climate change mitigation and adaptation. Public consultation is currently underway in the development of our next climate change strategy. Minister Rattenbury has also established the Climate Change Ministerial Advisory Group as an additional way for community organisations and businesses to provide direct input to the Government as a pathway to net zero emissions is developed.

  • Noted: A recommendation asks the Government to identify energy productivity and/or efficiency targets in conjunction with emissions reduction targets at 5 to 10 year intervals out to 2050 to optimise sustainability outcomes. The Government has noted this recommendation. The Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reductions Act 2010 already includes a section to develop per person energy efficiency targets (Section 10). In 2016 an operational review of the Act noted that the development of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012 supersedes the need for energy efficiency targets to be set as part of the Act. However this is an issue we may re-assess in future years should a need arise.

Comments attributable to Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury:

 “The ACT is taking a leading role in tackling climate change, and these recommendations dovetail nicely with our current activities.

“The report highlights that Government action has been effective in dramatically reducing emissions from electricity consumption through its 100% renewable electricity by 2020 target, and effective and equitable energy efficiency measures for government, households, businesses and community groups.

The report proposes that rapid electrification of the vehicle fleet within the ACT will reduce emissions from the transport sector once we reach 100% renewable electricity. While we agree, there is more to reducing transport emissions; the Government is also working hard to ensure the movement of people around our city is the most efficient in terms of time, safety, traffic congestion, and pollution including greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Government’s response to the Report is at www.environment.act.gov.au