NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE SYSTEM
Mr IAN COHEN:
My question is addressed to the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. Given that between 1988 and 1992 the Greiner Liberal Government increased the national reserve system by 7.2 per cent, and given that between March 2005 and the present day the Iemma-Rees governments have increased the national park and reserve tenure system by 5.5 per cent, is the Rees Government adequately contributing to the conservation legacy of New South Wales? Since Nathan Rees became Premier, the New South Wales Labor Government has increased the national park and reserve system by 0.96 per cent. From these figures alone, can we deduce that the Liberals-Nationals are superior conservationists, compared with the Rees Government?
The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON:
It is all well and good to talk about 2004 until today, but the whole period of this Government in office must be taken into account. Former Premier Bob Carr did more to increase the number of national parks in this State than any other Premier in the history of this State. From memory—but I stand to be corrected—this State has a significant 794 national parks. The Government has a commitment to continue to look at areas that are under-represented in our nationals parks system, particularly in western areas of New South Wales. It will also ensure that ecosystems are sustained, protected and best reflect the systems that exist that might not be best represented at the moment.
The notion that somehow members of the Opposition are more environmentally conscious or aware is absurd. I am disappointed that Mr Ian Cohen would even think that Opposition members really care about the environment. On Monday night's Four Corners
program the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Nick Minchin, stated on behalf of the Coalition—unless these blokes are suddenly saying they are not part of that any more—that he does not believe that climate change is being caused by humans. Anybody who missed the program should go on to the ABC's iView website and watch the program. Members of the Opposition are climate change deniers. Members of the Opposition are now sitting very quietly because they have nothing to say, because it is the truth. They cannot deny that Nick Minchin said on the ABC that climate change is not real.
I am pleased that I have been asked a question because I want to talk about this Government's environmental credentials. I note that the Leader of the Opposition keeps referring to Newcastle. I want to talk about this Government's commitment to the environment, in particular, its announcement this week of the Solar Bonus Scheme. This gives me a chance to report on more positive stories and commentary about that announcement. An article in today's Newcastle Herald
, under the heading "Good news for green power", states:
RENEWABLE energy in NSW received a huge boost this week when the Rees Government announced it would legislate to require households to be paid generously for all power they produce from domestic solar and wind generation
Coupled with a variety of other incentive programs, the new "Solar Bonus Scheme" is likely to produce a massive surge in demand for rooftop solar generating systems. Households can also avail themselves of the Federal Government's interest-free green loan scheme which provides up to $10,000 free of all financing costs for up to four years.
With such benefits available many households will be able to launch themselves into the green energy era, escaping power bills for years to come.
Mr IAN COHEN:
I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister reinvigorate the Carr-Debus tradition of adequate representative reserve systems with a proper protection of the river red gums on the Murray River?
The Hon. John Hatzistergos: Point of order: That question does not arise from the answer. The original question did not even refer to Carr.
Order! I rule the supplementary question out of order. It is a new question, not a supplementary question.
Questions without notice concluded.
The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: If members have further questions, I suggest they place them on notice.
[The President left the chair at 1.15 p.m. The House resumed at 2.45 p.m.