Labor and Greens ink deal in ACT, lock in battery and EV support and gas phase out | RenewEconomy

Labor and Greens ink deal in ACT, lock in battery and EV support and gas phase out

ACT Labor and Greens ink new power-sharing deal, including deal to phase-out gas by 2045, build large-scale energy storage and incentives for EV uptake.

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ACT chief minister Andrew Barr. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

ACT Labor and the ACT Greens have finalised a new power sharing agreement in the ACT Legislative Assembly, that locks in a wide range of initiatives to cut emissions and support uptake of energy storage and electric vehicles in the national capital.

In a new ‘parliamentary and governing agreement‘ released on Monday, the Labor and Greens parties have outlined their agreed policy agenda for the next four years of the Legislative Assembly, including a number of measures designed to help progress the ACT towards achieving its target of zero net emissions by 2045.

The agreement will see the ACT commit to the construction of new large-scale energy storage projects, legislate a ban on new gas connections for greenfield residential developments, support the roll-out new public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as financial incentives to support electric vehicle purchases and the procurement of 90 all-electric buses for the ACT’s public transport network.

The measures included in the parliamentary agreement include:

      • Phase out of fossil-fuel-gas in the ACT by 2045 at the latest.
      • Zero-interest loans of up to $15,000 for households and not-for-profit community organisations to assist with the upfront costs of investing in: rooftop solar panels; household battery storage; zero emission vehicles and efficient electric appliances.
      • At least 250MW of new ‘large-scale’ battery storage distributed across the ACT.
      • Legislate to prevent new gas mains network connections to future stages of greenfield residential development in the ACT in 2021-22.
      • Engage with the [zero emission vehicles] industry and adopt an ambitious target for new ACT vehicle sales to be zero emission by 2030.
      • Build at least 50 electric vehicle recharging stations across Canberra and the region, holding a reverse auction for their construction in 2021-22.
      • Provide financial incentives for the purchase of zero emission vehicles. This includes free vehicle registration for new zero emission vehicles for two years.
      • The Government will continue to transition Canberra’s entire public bus fleet to zero emissions by buying 90 battery electric buses in the next term.

The ACT government will also work towards establishing new all-electric residential developments, helping households to avoid the use of gas and to take advantage of the ACT’s existing supplies of 100 per cent renewable electricity.

The government will also produce ‘climate impact analyses’ to accompany all new legislation brought before the Legislative Assembly.

“At a time of climate crisis, we know that the decisions we make today will have significant consequences for future generations of Canberrans,” ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said. “This Agreement outlines a positive and important agenda for the next four years, and the Greens are optimistic about what this partnership between Labor and the Greens can achieve during this term of the Assembly.”

“This is an ambitious agenda, and we look forward to working with both the Labor Party and the community and stakeholders to implement these plans as effectively as possible.”

As part of the new ‘parliamentary and governing agreement’, the ACT Greens have agreed to support ACT Labor in forming government, including support for the passage of budget bills, and will not move or support motions of no-confidence except for particularly egregious instances of corruption or negligence.

In return, the ACT Greens will hold three positions within the ACT cabinet.

It is not yet known which portfolio the Greens ministers will hold, nor whether current ACT climate minister Shane Rattenbury will retain that portfolio. Chief Minister Andrew Barr will make the final decision on ministerial portfolios, with an announcement expected to be made on Tuesday.

The ACT Labor-Greens alliance was re-elected in mid-October, to a fourth consecutive term in partnership, with the ACT Greens tripling its presence in the ACT Legislative Assembly, winning a total of six seats.

ACT Labor will retain its position as the senior partner in the alliance, having won ten seats, with Andrew Barr to continue as the ACT chief minister.

“Over the previous two terms of Government, ACT Labor and the ACT Greens have demonstrated a capacity to work together to deliver stable government. There is clear support in the community for this model, and both parties remain committed to it,” ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr said.

“I want to thank the ACT Greens for the positive negotiations that have taken place over the past two weeks.  We have a lot of shared priorities that we are looking forward to working on and Canberrans can expect a busy and productive term of Government.”

The deal follows a similar agreement struck between the New Zealand Labour and Greens parties, with the Green co-leaders set to serve in the Ardern ministry for a second term.

In a ‘co-operation agreement’, the parties agreed to work together throughout the next term of parliament and it sees climate change minister James Shaw retain his position within the Ardern ministry, albeit outside of parliament, despite the NZ Labour party winning enough seats at the October election to hold an outright majority.

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