Helen Oakey, Executive Director
Saturday’s ACT Election outcome reflects that Canberrans right across the city value our natural environment and take seriously the challenge of climate change, signalling that these issues are important throughout our community.
People in Canberra have always valued and cared about our special local environment, and in a year when the community has spent more time outside recreating in their local neighbourhoods, awareness of these issues has increased.
Cutting our greenhouse emissions is a challenge that we must meet at a local, national and global level, and which requires strong, decisive action across all levels of our community, from the personal, through to business and government.
We’ve heard from the Canberra community this weekend that they are up for meeting that challenge.
With the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity target in place, we can now move forward to tackling emission reductions from the use of gas and from transport, both of which will require long term engagement with, and participation by, the community
There is also a need to improve how we live more sustainably in our existing urban footprint, undertaking smart, sustainable and high quality densification that delivers a high quality of life and relieves pressure on areas of environmental significance on the edges of our city – areas that need formal protection.
It is possible to densify our city in ways that increase urban amenity, with good planning that invests in shared green space, allows for urban tree planting, and supports better transport options.
This will allow us to protect the ACT’s nationally important grasslands and woodlands, and to enhance biodiversity values across the city.
The Conservation Council believes that the following issues need to be front and centre of the ACT Government agenda over the next four years:
- Cutting emissions from transport through electrifying our transport systems and private car use and encouraging greater use of cycling and walking options
- Stopping new gas connections to buildings and then phasing out gas
- Protecting areas of moderate to high conservation value across the ACT
- Ensuring that areas of national environmental significance continue to have national protection
- Building a genuinely circular economy
In Canberra we have a strong community of people who understand that it’s important to protect our natural environment, and to live sustainably.
The environmental challenges that we face are not going away anytime soon, and as such, political parties and candidates seeking election into the future will need to put forward genuine and strong solutions for the community to consider.
The Conservation Council looks forward to working with all elected members of the Legislative Assembly over the next four year term to achieve the best environmental outcomes for our city and our region.