Election Scorecard: Our Environment, Our Future

ACT Election Priorities 2020

The Conservation Council works constructively with all elected representatives of ACT Legislative Assembly to ensure the delivery of strong environmental outcomes for the ACT and region.

We have rated policy announcements against our 2020 Election Priorities which were developed in consultation with Conservation Council member groups. Major parties are rated against our individual priorities (first table). Minor parties and independents have summary comments (further below).

The table will be updated as policies continue to be announced in the lead up to the final polling day on October 17th. You can get further information about the parties’ policies on their websites.

Party ratings

Party has put forward a comprehensive policy response to address the priorities and is consistent with good environmental outcomes.
Party has put forward good policies that partially address the priorities and are consistent with good environmental outcomes.
Party has put forward limited policies to address the priorities and/or may include policies that run contrary to good environmental outcomes.
Party has not put forward a policy to address the priorities and/or may have other policies that run contrary to good environmental outcomes.


Net zero emissions by 2030

  • Support net zero emissions by 2045.
  • $100m over 5 years to build 250MW of battery storage in a distributed network around the city.
  • $150m package of no-interest loans for householders to install rooftop solar, household batteries or hot water heat pumps.
  • Low interest loans up to $200k for non-government schools for rooftop solar, batteries and hot water heat pumps.
  • Increase utilities concession rebates by $200 per year.

  • Supported net zero emissions by 2045.
  • No additional policies to support achieving target.

  • Support “striving for net zero emissions by 2030”.
  • $50m fund to support low income households and rental properties to improve energy efficiency and sustainability, using a reverse auction to select providers.
  • Ongoing support for energy concessions rebates.
  • A $20m fund to support homes and businesses to switch from gas to electric appliances.
  • Add to Building Code to improve sustainability standards for all new buildings.
  • Roll out community-scale batteries and micro-grids.
No new gas connections

  • No commitment to stop new gas connections in new or existing suburbs.
  • Support phasing out gas by 2045.

  • Indicated support for gas in new suburbs to be available.


  • A transition project to stop new gas connections in existing suburbs from 2023.
  • Stop connections to new greenfield developments gas from 2021.
  • Set target to be fossil-fuel-gas-free by 2040.
  • Ensure all new Government buildings, and Government retrofits are gas-free.
  • Zero emission Molonglo Town Centre.
Cut government ties with fossil fuel companies

  • Ensure climate change outcomes continue to be considered as part of government procurement.

  • No specific policies announced.

  • Support full divestment of the ACT government from harmful industries such as fossil fuels.
  • Procurement processes to include criteria for high environmental standards.
Biodiversity funding

  • Open to independent funding review.
  • $215k annual funding for each of the three ACT Catchment groups. ($2.58m over 4 years).
  • $75k funding per year for Frogwatch (also see under Waterways.)
  • Fund ACT Wildlife.
  • Continue to employ Indigenous rangers.
  • $3.6m to upgrade Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre and improve tracks and trails in nature reserves.

  • Open to independent funding review.
  • Guarantee annual funding for Landcare ACT to support the work of three catchment groups.
  • Additional $50k for ACT Wildlife.
  • $50k for an animal ambulance.
  • Two new rangers for Park Care support.

  • Support independent funding review.
  • Additional funding for Parks and Conservation Service to manage Canberra Nature Park.
  • $3.2m over 4 years for community environment groups such as Landcare ACT, Parkcare, catchment groups, rural leaseholders and urban park groups.
  • Recurrent funds to citizen science programs such as Frogwatch, Waterwatch and NatureMapr.
  • Additional funds to ACT Wildlife.
  • Create and fund separate biodiversity offsets management fund.
  • Increased funding for Namadgi bushfire recovery.
  • Additional 10 Ngunnawal rangers.
Protect all ACT land with conservation values

  • Don’t support new suburbs in sensitive natural areas.
  • Develop and implement Canberra-wide landscape strategy.
  • Rebuild and rehabilitate Namadgi National Park.
  • Identify new areas to invest in natural assets.
  • Update visitor infrastructure and trails in reserves.

  • Support protections for environmentally significant areas in the ACT.
  • No specific policies announced.

  • Increase funds and support for rural leaseholders to protect threatened species on their property.
  • Rezone key unprotected grassland and woodland site to protect them, and accelerate a program to protect endangered woodlands.
  • Establish urban wildlife and biodiversity corridors program.
  • Increased 4 year funding for invasive species management.
  • Protect Lands End, Piney Creek woodlands and Bluetts block.
  • Protect grassland sites including Newline Woodland, Isabella Pond and Ginninderra Creek.
Canberra-wide cat containment by 2025

  • Support extending cat containment to established suburbs but no clear timeline or implementation pathway for city-wide cat containment.

  • No policies announced in support of cat containment in established suburbs.

  • Support extending cat containment to established suburbs, but no clear timeline.
  • Gradual implementation starting with suburbs that border on nature reserves.
  • Support mandatory cat registration.
  • Better resourcing for Domestic Animal Services.
Plant trees across Canberra to meet the 30% tree canopy target

  • Plant 450,000 trees to meet 30% canopy target.
  • Increase proportion of green space and landscaping in new residential developments.
  • Continue to increase the amount of planting areas on private blocks.
  • Take action to reduce pesticides.
  • Formally become a “bee-friendly city”

  • Plant and care for one million trees over 10 years.
  • $5.8m over the next 4 years for 400,000 trees.
  • Provide ongoing funding for Adopt-a-Park scheme.
  • Green Space Guarantee: well-maintained green space within a 10 minute walk of all residences.
  • Up to 10 free trees for new land releases.
  • Support new and existing community gardens.

  • Plant at least 500,000 trees to meet the 30% canopy target.
  • $21.5m injection into tree planting over the next 4 years.
  • Develop a street orchard program.
  • Establish urban wildlife and biodiversity corridors program, and provide 5000 nest boxes.
  • Amend Tree Protection Act to protect mature trees, protect area around trees by creating mini-ecosystems pockets and protect self-seeded saplings.
  • Change planning laws to allow for more plantings and expand the Living Infrastructure Plan to make more room for greenspace in different residential zones.
  • Government planting lists to ensure year-round nectar for bees and birds.
  • Ban neonicotinoids and reduce the use of glyphosate where possible.
  • Establish $1.5m Community Food fund for community gardens.
  • Mandate space for community gardens in all new suburbs, and retrofit gardens in existing suburbs where possible.
Improve water quality in Canberra’s major creeks and stormwater channels

  • Continue improving lakes and waterways, including delivering on 10 year plan for Lake Tuggeranong.
  • Additional $2 million to clean up Lake Tuggeranong and reduce algal blooms.
  • $75k per year for Frogwatch.
  • $215k per year for each of the three catchment groups (see above in Biodiversity Funding).
  • Annual funding of $215k for Waterwatch.

  • Funding to support catchment groups (see above in Biodiversity Funding).
  • No additional policies announced to support clean and healthy waterways.

  • $30m major infrastructure program to continue Healthy Waterways project and build new wetlands, rain gardens, ponds.
  • Restoration projects for water catchment including Lake Tuggeranong, Yarralumla Creek, Molonglo.
  • Develop plan to manage Canberra’s urban river and creek corridors.
  • Increase Environmental Grants funds for invasive plant management and restoration of riparian vegetation.
  • Recurrent funds to citizen science projects including Frogwatch and Waterwatch.
  • Commissioner investigation into the state of ACT’s lakes and waterways.
  • Increase permeable surfaces to 30%.
  • Increase community education programs on stormwater.
  • Establish an ACT Water Office.
  • Audit stormwater infrastructure and create 10-year upgrade plan.
  • New WSUD requirements introduced to Territory Plan to minimise run-off.
No further urban expansion and an 80% infill target

  • Committed to 70% infill, 30% greenfield.
  • Greenfield development in already identified areas of Molonglo, Belconnen West and Gungahlin.
  • Supports possibility of expansion west of Molonglo.
  • Ruled out new suburbs at Kowen Forest or on sensitive natural areas, such as west of Tuggeranong.

  • No position on urban infill target.
  • Greenfield development in already identified areas of Molonglo, Belconnen West and Gunghalin.
  • Supports possibility of expansion west of Molonglo.
  • Has not ruled out Kowen Forest or west of Tuggeranong for future urban development.
  • Not supportive of residential development on Curtin Horse Paddocks.

  • Committed to 80% infill, 20% greenfield.
  • Committed to set city limits and stop unending urban sprawl.
  • Infill development to include high-quality open space, active living streetscapes, and water-sustainable urban design.
  • Ruled out development west of Tuggeranong.
  • Conduct environmental studies in Western Investigation Area to identify and protect environmentally significant areas.
Network of separated city cycleways

  • $15m active travel plan to include off-road cycle paths next to new roads, path widening across the city and new cycle routes in Belconnen, Gungahlin and Inner North.
  • $3.7m towards cycle path maintenance – to ensure cycle paths receive the same maintenance as roads.
  • Update Active Travel Framework to provide coordinated active travel networks, adopt Movement and Place Framework for Canberra.

  • $500k for feasibility study into 100km of off-road cycle paths to connect all town centres and employment hubs over the next 10 years.
  • $5m to improve cycling facilities at transport inter-changes.

  • Build seven large cycling corridors across the ACT.
  • Upgrades to connect gaps in existing walking and cycling infrastructure.
  • Allocate minimum 20% of roads and parking budget over the next 4 years to walking/cycling infrastructure, with a minimum of $20m per year for 4 years.
  • Develop 10-year walking & cycling infrastructure priority plan.
  • Establish Access Committee to allow Canberrans with disabilities to provide network feedback.
  • Immediate review of ACT active travel design standards, and adopt best practice standards from July 2021.
  • Bicycle hub facility with end-of-trip services by 2023.
  • Implement ‘bicycle parking code’ to ensure all new buildings provide quality bicycle parking and change rooms.
Integrated, electrified and reliable light rail & bus network

  • Build light rail to Woden, and then extend city-wide network.
  • Transition Canberra’s bus fleet to zero emissions by 2037 or earlier.
  • Buy 90 battery electric buses in the next term. No further purchase of diesel or CNG buses.
  • Build a new zero emissions bus depot in Canberra’s north and electric bus infrastructure at the new Woden depot.

  • Conditional support for Stage 2 of light rail pending independent analysis of business case.
  • Maintain the already budgeted government commitment to transition to zero emission bus fleet by 2040.
  • No specific policy or funding announced to deliver this.

  • Support stage 2 of light rail to Woden and stage 3 to Belconnen as part of a city network.
  • Transition Canberra’s bus fleet to zero emissions by 2035.
  • All new buses to be zero emissions.
  • Rideshare and taxis need to be zero emissions by 2035.
  • New contracts for waste services to be zero emissions vehicles.
Incentives for electric cars and bikes

  • Work with other states, territories and the Commonwealth to set parameters to trial and encourage electric vehicle take-up.

  • Lower car registration fees including for petrol and diesel vehicles.
  • $50m to fund 2500 new car parking spaces.
  • No specific policies announced for electric cars and bikes.

  • $50m fund for incentives to purchase zero emissions cars and motorbikes which will provide up to $10k to purchase new and used zero emissions vehicles, $5k direct subsidy, $5k no interest loan.
  • Up to 50% rebate on retail price of e-bikes.
  • 90% of new car sales to be zero emissions by 2030.
Improving waste management

  • Target of diverting 90% of waste from landfill by 2025.
  • City-wide rollout of bulky waste pickup service by 2021.
  • Do not support proposal for CRS waste processing facility in Fyshwick.

  • Recycling bins at all local shops and business precincts.
  • $10k grants for recycling initiatives.
  • Moratorium on waste proposals in Fyshwick.

  • Require source separation of construction and demolition waste from 2024.
  • $1.2m circular economy grants scheme for business, community and startups to trial new approaches to reduce waste, increase recycling and reduce emissions from waste.
  • Fund and support research and trials for problem waste streams (i.e. contaminated paper, timber, textiles, batteries).
  • Collect and publish annual waste data.
  • Increase public place recycling facilities with recycling bins in all town centres and local shops.
  • Preference zero waste and recycled products in Government procurement.
  • Moratorium on waste proposals in Fyshwick.
No single use plastics by 2023

  • From 2021 will ban sale and use of plastic cutlery and stirrers, and polystyrene food and drink containers.
  • In 2022, will legislate to ban fruit and vegetable barriers bags, straws, plastic-lined coffee cups and oxo-degradable plastic products.
  • Government events to be plastic free by 2021.

  • No clear policy outlining commitment to regulating single use plastics.

  • From 2021 ban the sale and supply of single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers, plastics straws and polystyrene food and beverage containers.
  • From 2022, ban plastic fruit and vegetable barriers, disposable coffee cups, and oxo-degradable plastic bags.
  • Government events to be plastic free by 2021.
  • Introduce mandatory minimum price on plastic shopping bags.
Canberra-wide food and organic waste collection

  • Roll out organic food waste collection across Canberra by 2023 – including townhouses and apartments.
  • Construction of a new large-scale in-vessel processing facility to compost food and garden waste.
  • Supports exploring opportunities for community composting.

  • Provide kerbside collection and sorting services for food and garden organics.

  • Implement household food and garden waste collection by 2023, including for apartment buildings.
  • Require large organic waste producing businesses to have separate organic waste collection and food reduction plan from 2023.
  • Delivery of organic waste processing facility.
  • Continue to deliver Love Food Hate Waste education program.
  • Investigate ways to require large food retailers to donate edible food to charities.

Other parties and independent candidates

Below is a brief analysis of environmental commitments from other parties and independents. For a full list of candidates, visit Elections ACT.

Party/candidate Our comments Website
Animal Justice Party The AJP support creating nature corridors to protect wildlife from road deaths, replacing barbed wire in wildlife habitats, introducing mobile watering stations for wildlife during drought conditions, instigating the use of trap, neuter, release, monitor programs for urban cat populations, dusk and dawn speed limits for roads surrounding reserves and improving the public transport system to enable greater access to parks/reserves. Some of these policies, such as trap, neuter and release of cats run the risk of impacting poorly on native wildlife. Policies on other sustainability issues are limited. website
Australian Climate Change Justice Party The ACCJP advocate establishing a comprehensive, high speed bus system to and from each town centre; enhancing local bicycle track networks and electric bicycle lanes; immediate establishment of infrastructure for balanced energy supply to the ACT residential and commercial sectors; and growth of suburban community gardens. website
Australian Federation Party No specific environment positions or policies. website
Belco Party The Belco Party advocate for all current and future bus and light rail to be free of charge and would fund $50m to “clean-up our suburbs” including conduct a full street tree audit and inspect/maintain each street tree every year and plant missing trees. They have policies that promote the use of private vehicles eg lowering car registration and removing paid parking on weekends and after 5.30pm. They propose to open the ACT’s lakes to recreational use by motor boats, likely impacting on biodiversity and habitats. They have an unclear on position on light rail extension, but do want to delay Stage 2 to Woden. website
Canberra Progressives Canberra Progressives advocate implementing an urban growth boundary to prevent urban sprawl, exploring incentives to purchase electric cars and incentivise electric bike use, providing more community gardens, implementing a greening program for urban buildings and open space, incentives for developers to provide green roofs/walls, using rainwater and recycled water to water urban forest, ensuring all new ACT public housing is eco-friendly and renewably powered, light rail to Woden and further, co-funding a bio-plastic production plant to reduce plastic pollution and co-funding a recycling plant to re-purpose plastic and other waste. website
David Pollard (Independent) David Pollard advocates seeking funding support to help industries transition to more sustainable practices, both environmentally and financially, directing the public service to aim for carbon neutral or carbon negative on all public infrastructure, insisting on renewable energy reporting in Canberra, establishing a “Bike to Work” program with Pedal Power ACT, and a comprehensive condition assessment of the entire ACT path network and a rolling maintenance program. website
Democratic Labour Party Policies are at national level. No mention of climate change, biodiversity, ACT’s environmental values. Mention of moratorium on Murray-Darling Plan. website
Fiona Carrick (Independent) Fiona Carrick advocates for protecting our urban nature reserves and native wildlife; identifying urban green spaces for parks, public spaces and environmental corridors; protecting Coombs Peninsula; maintaining our tree canopy and streetscapes with climate-resilient species; naturalising and planting creeks/wetlands for biodiversity and recreation where possible; support for community groups and greening projects, eg care groups and community gardens; an overarching landscape strategy to manage connectivity between all elements including the tree canopy and biodiversity in our nature reserves, urban parks and creeks, drawing on the recommendations in the Inquiry into Nature in our City; and zoning for a 500 metre environmental corridor along Yarralumla Creek for the purposes of conservation, biodiversity and recreation at North Curtin horse paddocks. website
Liberal Democratic Party The Liberal Democratic Party advocate neither for nor against light rail in the ACT in principle, promote increased carparks in town centres as a matter of priority, support reduced hours for school speed limits where appropriate, support reduced vehicle registration fees, and do not believe that Canberra has a high car dependency. Will immediately work with outdoor enthusiast groups to unlock the ACT’s National Parks. No policies that mention protection of biodiversity or natural ecosystems. website
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party does not have any ACT-specific policies, however, they believe in the right to hunt and gather, and have positions that support opening up national parks and reserve areas so that this can happen. In NSW they have opposed recent koala protection laws, and support the development of mineral resources including the ongoing extraction, domestic use and export of coal. They believe that coal-fired power is required to provide a reliable energy source. They are opposed to a price on carbon, and support nuclear energy. website
Sustainable Australia Sustainable Australia advocate to increase environment and conservation management funding and employment, including for water security, biodiversity and climate change, and increased investment into renewable energy technologies; and adopting a properly enforced national biodiversity and native species program including reduction and eradication programs for high-risk feral species. They also support policies to stop population growth locally and globally. website
The Community Action Party The Community Action Party advocates for a massive tree planting program to replace the tree cover lost; improve the control of noxious plants and feral animals in the ACT; informal green spaces being preserved and the Canberra Nature Park being extended to form a single, integrated entity. They want an independent commission to review water supply and demand management options; will work with communities to identify and implement ways of reducing the ACT’s ecological footprint; will work with communities, scientists, businesses and others to achieve the goal of creating a carbon-neutral ACT economy by 2035, or sooner if possible; a program to assist ACT business to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from that sector; and increasing the level of recycling by households that are part of multi-unit developments. website

Take action

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