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9 December 2016

Andrew Barr, MLA, Chief Minister
Alistair Coe, MLA, Leader of the Opposition
Shane Rattenbury, MLA, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability

Dear Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability

Select Committee “Canberra – Our Pathway to Zero Net Emissions”

One of the highlights of the ACT election was the major party – ACT Labor, Canberra Liberals and ACT Greens – support for 100% electricity from renewable energy target by 2020 and for Canberra to become zero net emissions by 2050. We note the 2020 target is not ‘aspirational’ as contracts have been put in place and hence it will be delivered. This is a great achievement.

It is also worth reiterating the ACT is a national and international leader on local climate change action and delivery and we are proud of this. We are leaders because:

  • we have a 100% renewable energy target by 2020
  • we have a plan and contracts in place to deliver this
  • we have a target of being zero net emissions by 2050
  • we have tri-partisan support for the above.

We congratulate you all on your role in achieving this.

However we do note post-2020 there is no plan to achieve the zero net emissions target by 2050 and there are no interim targets.

In order to keep up with the science and to maintain our leadership role we should look at whether we can achieve an earlier zero net emissions target than 2050.

We also need to make sure our pathway to zero net emissions is fair, equitable, socially just, economically viable and does not displace our emissions into other jurisdictions.

We are hoping that the impetus on tri-partisan support for our local action and leadership on climate change can be maintained and we suggest one mechanism to do this would be to have an ACT Legislative Assembly Select Committee established on “Canberra – Our Pathway to Zero Net Emissions”. The outcomes of this process could feed into the development of a post 2020 plan by the ACT Government to be finalised in 2018 for how we can achieve our zero net emissions goal.

This is a good way for the Assembly and the community to work together to develop agreed pathways on climate change that work for all sectors of society.

The signatories to this letter believe that the ACT should address climate change and reduce energy poverty through targeted expansion of household energy efficiency measures, and ensure a just transition to adapt to climate change by developing further responses in consultation with climate affected communities and workers.

If we are to develop and implement a zero net emission plan it must be embraced by the ACT community, by a wide range of organisations across sectors and by our major political parties. This must mean a more inclusive process than has occurred with previous consultation on climate change policy and action plans.

Some observations are:

  • according to current Action Plan#2 (AP2) the next Action Plan#3 is not due to be finalised till 2021
  • we have been advised the Directorate intends to bring this forward to 2018
  • there was no public consultation on the review of our Climate Change Act targets in 2015-16
  • there was no public consultation on the 2015 review of Action Plan#2

Effective community ownership will be an essential part of delivery of our zero net emissions goal.

We encourage you to support a Select Committee on “Canberra – Our Pathway to Zero Net Emissions” and additional ways of community engagement to ensure our local community is engaged and committed to a shared vision of achieving zero net emissions in a fair, sustainable and equitable way as soon as possible.


Yours sincerely

Larry O’Loughlin, Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region

Susan Helyar, Director, ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Darlene Cox, Health Care Consumers’ Association

Simon Viereck, Executive Officer, Mental Health Community Coalition ACT

Travis Gilbert, Executive Officer, ACT Shelter Inc

Dalane Drexler, Executive Officer, ACT Mental Health Consumer Network

Liam Lilly, SEE-Change Executive Officer

Ryan Lungu, Director, Canberra Environment Centre

Eleanor Lawless, Convenor, Canberra