ACT Election Candidate Survey - Adam Verwey

ACT Peak Oil has sent a survey to ACT Election candidates. This is the response from Adam Verwey, independent candidate for Ginninderra. Clearly he is a candidate who thinks and cares about important issues.

  1. How would you address the need for food security in the ACT?
  2. This is an issue I feel is very difficult for a place like the ACT. Very little food is actually produced in the ACT and we don't have a lot of land zoned for or particularly suitable for agriculture. The region which the ACT draws upon for local foods is outside the borders of our Territory.

    So as far as actions which can be taken at a Territory level, I'd suggest promotion and support for community gardens and food co-ops, fully funding groups such as OzHarvest, planning and zoning to ensure suburban shopping centres, and general promotion of healthy eating, food miles etc.

    I also support labelling measures which allow people to know where food has come from. Research has shown that people prefer local foods (and will even pay more for it) as long as accessing local food is convenient. In a country where 76% of food is sourced from the two major retailers, this requires government to work with these major retailers to ensure local produce is supported.

    At a national level I think the ACT should lobby for stronger restrictions on junk food advertising, lobby for welfare levels to be adequate enough so that lower socio-economic groups can afford to buy healthy, local foods, and regulate the biofuels market so that foods which should fuel humans aren't being used to fuel vehicles.

  3. How can the ACT deal with public transport equitably, given that petrol is going to go up in price and current urban design is planned around private cars?
  4. I support bringing light rail to the ACT. I will push strongly for the first light rail tracks to be laid down in the next term of government. Light rail has the ability to service our intertown links and other major hubs such as Fyshwick and the airport, as well as free up the Action bus network to better service the suburban areas. I believe the ACT could already be well on the way to having a successful light rail system if money which has been spent (and will be spent) on the GDE and road duplications was directed to establishing light rail instead.

    I also support fully funding the maintenance of bicycle and footpaths, as well as ensuring these paths are properly signposted.

  5. What plans do you have to rapidly move the ACT to a low carbon/renewable energy economy?
  6. As well as moving towards a transport system focussed on an integrated light rail and bus network, I would focus on ensuring the ACT''s commercial and residential building stock was more energy efficient. I would introduce minimum green-star building requirements for all new and refurbished commercial buildings as well as stronger minimum green building standards for new residential housing. I would also support measures to make it easier for Canberrans to make their current homes more energy and water efficient.

    I also support moves to have solar and wind farms in the ACT, and think the solar feed in tariff was a good positive measure of the last term of government.

  7. In what ways can market mechanisms assist in preparing for high fuel prices and even fuel shortages, and in what ways can they inhibit?
  8. The market is often thought of as something which is separate from "us". However, I believe the market is controlled by what people choose to consume and what people choose to invest in. If people and government choose to support renewable energy over coal-fired energy, for instance, then the market has little choice but to follow. The trillion dollar superannuation industry is an enormous amount of money which, with the introduction of super choice, people can direct toward sustainable funds/industries if they choose. At the moment Australia lags the rest of the developed world in supporting sustainable/ethical investment - it accounts for only 1.7% of all invested funds in Australia as opposed to nearly 10% in Europe and North America.

  9. What are your ideas on diversifying the economy of the ACT and its region so as to reduce our dependence on long-distance freight for everyday items? Apart from Government, what sectors can the ACT economy afford to have less of, and what might it need more of?
  10. The ACT needs to take more advantage of the intellectual and research resources it has. World leading education and research institutions exist in the ACT, yet much of what comes from this is then developed elsewhere.

    It's a particular shame that world-leading research in solar/photovoltaics has moved interstate and overseas because of a lack of support and resources to develop it here. I can't think of too many sectors in the ACT we could have less of. Perhaps we could focus less on enormous retail hubs.

  11. Are you concerned about the potential for ad-hoc policy responses (e.g. biofuel mandates) to do more harm than good? Will you prepare and publish far-sighted policy - that explicitly acknowledges Peak Oil - so as to avoid implementing panicked measures thrust upon you by doomed/opportunistic business sectors?
  12. Yes, I believe a long term policy focus is imperative. Too often we see governments make short-term (often populist) decisions at the expense of real vision and long-term solutions. It is particularly imperative at the moment with the combination of climate change, water shortages, and peak oil that we have a proper, robust plan to move us forward. I believe the policies which I've put forward (which can be viewed at contribute to an overall vision for the future of the ACT which extends beyond one election cycle.