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ACT Budget update: Supporting our world-leading emissions reduction targets

Today’s ACT Budget will help consolidate Canberra’s status as Australia’s most sustainable community and support our world-leading greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

With the ACT on track to meet our goal of being powered by 100% renewable electricity in 2020, this Budget takes the first steps toward meeting our next climate challenge—that is achieving zero net emissions by 2045 (and interim milestones for 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2040 to keep us on track).

The 2018 Budget makes a much needed investment of $5.7 million to extend the successful Energy Efficient Improvement Scheme (EEIS) into ACT public housing. This investment recognises that climate change action needs to go hand-in-hand with social support for struggling members of the community.

Over three years this program will support significant energy efficiency upgrades—including to space heating—in 2,200 public housing dwellings. Not only will it help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will reduce heating and cooling costs for some of Canberra’s more vulnerable residents. These households are expected to save, on average, about $500 on their annual energy bills.

Transport is the next big sector to tackle when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT. In 2020, when all of the ACT’s electricity comes from renewable sources, transport (mainly private car use) will account for more than 60% of ACT emissions.

I’m therefore pleased to announce that the Budget builds on our recently-released Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan, by providing $456,000 for the installation of 50 new electric vehicle charging stations at ACT Government sites across Canberra. This investment supports our commitment to 100% of the ACT Government passenger fleet being zero emission vehicles from 2020-21.

The Zero Emissions Vehicles strategy aims to support community uptake of zero emission vehicles (including e-bikes) through a range of initiatives, including:

  • Requiring all new multi-unit and mixed use developments to install vehicle charging infrastructure;
  • Permitting zero emissions vehicles to drive in transit lanes until 2023 (to commence later in 2018);
  • Working with local and state governments to facilitate the installation of charging stations on major routes to and from Canberra including routes to Sydney and coastal areas; and
  • Investigating incentives to encourage the use of electric bikes in place of cars.

Electrifying vehicles isn’t enough—tackling transport emissions also means changing transport habits. It’s excellent therefore that the Budget makes significant investment in sustainable transport, including $30 million for active travel infrastructure, and $12.5 million funding to advance stage two of light rail (from Civic to Woden).

The 2018 Budget also supports the community’s efforts to take climate action by allocating $6 million to extend the ACT Government’s Actsmart programs—programs which have already helped thousands of households, businesses and community groups to reduce their waste, energy and water use.

There is still much to do, and more investment needed, but this Budget offers good support to the priorities we’re pursuing in the Climate Change and Sustainability portfolio.

by Shane Rattenbury
ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability

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