5 August 2019

Greens stalwart Caroline Le Couteur to retire at end of term

| Lachlan Roberts
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With retirement on the horizon, Caroline Le Couteur said there is much she still wants to achieve in the next 14 months. File photo.

ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says she has a long to-do list ahead of the “crucial” 14 months till the 2020 ACT election after she announced that she will retire at the end of the term.

The Member for Murrumbidgee said she decided to make her decision public ahead of Greens preselection processes which will take place in coming months.

“It has been a real privilege to represent the people of Canberra in the ACT Assembly. I have been very fortunate to be elected twice,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“From the crossbench, I will continue to take seriously our role in holding the Government to account, and I will continue to stand up for our local community on issues that matter to them.

“In my time in the Assembly, I’m especially pleased to have contributed to a more sustainable Canberra. Climate change is the issue that brought me here and every day it continues to motivate me.

“I’m also pleased to have played my part in making Canberra a more compassionate place.”

Having served in the seventh and ninth Assemblies, Ms Le Conteur said her proudest achievements included major reforms in land tax exemption for affordable rentals, her tree petition leading to extra 17,000 trees in Canberra over four years, animal welfare and more community consultation in planning.

But Ms Le Couteur said there was much she still wanted to achieve in the next 14 months, including getting new consent laws passed and delivering better building and energy efficiency standards.

“With fourteen months before the ACT election, this is a crucial time for this Assembly – a time where the Greens unique role, both in Government and from the crossbench, is central to realising Canberra as the ‘greenest’ jurisdiction in Australia,” she said.

“We’re facing a climate emergency – yet the Government still needs to act to deliver better building and energy efficiency standards, to ensure houses will be highly liveable in the warmer Canberra climate of the future.

“These are issues that I’ve advocated for, for a long time: these reforms are well overdue.

“We’ve come a long way in realising stronger protections around issues like intimate images. Now, we need to act to finally change the definition of consent in the Crimes Act to make clear that ‘yes means yes’, and ‘no means no’.

“As was again raised last week, we need entertainment precincts in place now to ensure that we’re protecting Canberra’s nightlife. I’ve pushed for this now for over a decade: the Greens have had a long-term vision to this, and it’s time to get it done.

“Bring on the next fourteen months!”

Ms Le Couteur will be the third female ACT politician to announce her retirement this year, after former Labor MLA Meegan Fitzharris and member of the Opposition, Vicki Dunne.

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