GREENS spokesperson Shane Rattenbury has described the four-yearly State of the Environment report as an illustration of “business as usual” policies driving the territory in the completely the wrong direction.
The “ACT State of the Environment Report 2011”, a report card on the ACT’s environment released today, was described by Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell as painting “a positive picture for the ACT”.
However the report had identitifed key areas for improvement including: reducing the overall ecological footprint to which has seen a slight increase in the last five years; reduce waste generation based on a per capita basis; meeting ACT Labor Government carbon reduction targets, which are 40 per cent reductions on 1990 levels by 2020 and carbon neutrality by 2060; and improving water quality in Canberra’s lakes and waterways.
“The good news stories coming out of this reports are almost all community based actions, the failings are largely on the Government’s end,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Initiatives led by groups including the UC, Community Gardens, OzHarvest and See-Change are the stories of success.
“Meanwhile the Government’s inaction on sustainable transport, organic waste and protecting biodiversity are the clear lowlights.”
The Greens have also asked why the report, completed last December, was only released today.
“The Government also has to answer as to why it has sat on this report since it landed on the Minister’s desk last year,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Since then, there has been a Transport Strategy, a Waste Strategy and draft strategies on Planning and Weathering the Change Action Plan 2. Why was the community deprived of the information in the State of the Environment Report during the development of these strategies?
“My legislation before the Assembly would force the Minister to release the report immediately, rather than being legally allowed to sit on it for months and months.
“Probably the biggest concern with the release of this report today is to reflect on what’s happened since the last State of the Environment report, in 2007. The Government then agreed to many recommendations that simply have not been acted on.
“What we need the Government to do now is implement recommendations rather than writing more strategy documents.”