Government goes a little greener

ADDING another feather to its ‘green’ cap, the State Government has released its State sustainablity plan.

The 300-page document outlines a long-term agenda to meet the needs of current and future generations that is to be implemented over a ten-year period.

Among the wide ranging recommendations include commencing a hydrogen fuel cell bus trial in 2004, considering the establishment of an urban growth boundary, assessing new developments with triple bottom line guidelines and removing inequitable taxation treatments and salary package arrangements that do not allow bicycles and public transport as options. 

The strategy has been met with a differing industry reactions.

Previously scathing of the draft sustainablity report, Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Lyndon Rowe has toned down his opinions of the strategy.

Mr Rowe said the new document was a significant improvement on the draft and had adopted a more integrated approach that had more of a focus on balance.

“It now contains a greater recognition of free markets and the role markets can play,” he said.

However, according to Mr Rowe, the ‘nanny state’ flavour still lingers within the strategy.

“The tone is that the Government knows what is best for you,” he said.

“Markets can make mistakes but so do governments and the mistakes they make are bigger.”

WA Business News understands no additional funding is to be provided to implement the guidelines, the responsibility of adopting the strategy’s plans for the future falls to individual departments.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy director of policy and external affairs David Parker said from the resources industry point of view it had approached the strategy with an open mind and an opportunity to showcase the level of sustainablity practice that was occurring in the industry.

He said the industry was currently operating at best practice and there was little to further regulate.

“At the end of the day we are a key advocate of sustainable strategies,” Mr Parker said.

“Sustainablity is the way the resources sector does business these days.”

Master Builders Association executive director Michael McLean said while he applauded the Government for tackling a complicated issue, he said it was important that industry had reasonable time to understand and adopt the proposed initiatives.

“We need to ensure industry comes with us when it implements policies,” he said.

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