On The Campaign Trail today, Canberra’s big battery, the Housing Industry Association comes out swinging against the Greens and the Belco Party joins the bidding war for a new stadium.
- Libs to develop new Multicultural Office, make access to language services easier
- Belconnen infrastructure upgrades
- HIA hits back at Greens over housing policy
- New green buildings piloted by Greens
- Belco Party lob hail mary for new stadium
One of Australia’s biggest battery storage systems – almost twice the size of the one in Adelaide – will be built in Canberra by a re-elected Labor Government.
The five-year, $100 million commitment from Labor will aim to reduce electricity prices across the city, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
“As a combined network, this battery system can address network constraints, enable more Canberrans to have solar and shorten the pay-off period of domestic solar systems,” he said.
“Our climate change policy will create good, local enviro jobs. Through the implementation of our suite of policies, a re-elected ACT Labor Government will create more than 2,000 local jobs.”
Libs to develop new Multicultural Office, make access to language services easier
The Canberra Liberals will move the multicultural portfolio into the Chief Minister’s Directorate and create a Multicultural Office for Economic Development to better support language development and build better infrastructure and community connections if they form government.
More needs to be done for the 30 per cent of residents who were born overseas and 50 per cent of Canberrans whose parents were born overseas, Liberal spokeswoman for multicultural affairs Elizabeth Kikkert said.
“Many multicultural organisations report that their members struggle to access government services and information, including older people and those with limited English,” she said.
“Communities have outgrown existing facilities and struggle to find, or build, their own venues.
“Peak bodies feel ignored, and genuine, respectful consultation is lacking. Smaller communities struggle with the high cost of operating in the ACT and participating in community events.”
Under their multicultural package, there will also be greater access to interpreter services in areas like health and justice, the exploration of new sister-cities across the world and more consultation ahead of the next Multicultural Festival.
Belconnen infrastructure upgrades
Promises to upgrade local playgrounds, footpaths and install new public toilets at Macquarie, Weetangera, Florey, Evatt and Higgins shops from the Liberals have offered a pre-election sweetener for Belconnen residents.
A new dog park will also be built in West Belconnen while $60,000 will be spent on a feasibility study for a new indoor multipurpose sports centre, also at West Belconnen.
Upgrades were touted for Florey and McKellar Ovals as well.
HIA hits back at Greens over housing policy
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has come out swinging against the Greens proposal to stop new gas connections and bring forward the timeline for going fossil fuel and gas-free by five years.
Executive Director of the HIA in the ACT, Greg Weller, said the plan would not be affordable for most Canberra families.
“It is just not plausible to say that in the future there will be smaller new suburbs, and that homes will have higher environmental standards, more restrictive building and planning laws, slower approval times, greater heritage protection and more green space – yet somehow be cheaper,” he said.
Mr Weller also called the policy “anti-development”. The criticism came a day after the Greens’ coalition partner attacked the policy, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr saying he could not support any “crazy Greens proposals”.
Greens leader Shane Rattenbury hit back at Mr Barr saying he either misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented the policy.
“It is disappointing to learn that the Labor Party is shying away from major and urgent climate action,” he said.
“This is [Labor] digging in deep for a gas-led future that will serve no-one. This is the time for ACT Labor to tell the public whether they support Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese’s gas-led recovery, or instead a zero-emissions recovery that gives us all a future?”
The current government plan will phase out fossil fuel and gas use by 2045.
New green buildings piloted by Greens
Sticking with buildings, the Greens will pilot a land release program that includes at least one “showcase” development a year, such as buildings including “living” walls and roofs covered in plants.
Buildings like this will be more energy-efficient, keep the heat in winter and keep the building cool in summer while the rest of the building could be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity.
It would follow developments like the Nishi building in Acton, Canberra’s first eight-star energy-efficient rated buildings.
Belco Party lob hail mary for new stadium
The Belco Party has promised to build a new 35,000-person stadium, convention centre and new sports facilities around the AIS – worth between $500 million and $950 million.
The party says the costs will be shared between the ACT Government, Commonwealth Government and private sector.