Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey.
Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey.

How green is your pollie?

BUNDABERG’S politicians have been challenged to tell the electorate just how green they are.

Environmental campaigner Jon Dee, founder of the action group Do Something!, has launched the 10 Per Cent In 2010 challenge, urging Australia’s elected representatives to reduce their personal greenhouse emissions by 10% over 12 months.

He has 10 questions he wants all politicians to answer on their personal greenhouse emissions.

The NewsMail yesterday gave Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey and Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch the chance to answer the questions.

1. Do you turn the plugs off on electrical appliances when they’re not in use?

Mr Neville: Yes, we turn off appliances at the power point when they’re not in use.

Mr Messenger: Yes.

Mr Dempsey: Yes, I turn off power points on electrical appliances when they are not in use and encourage my family to do the same.

Cr Pyefinch: Our family are trying to get into the habit of doing this consistently.

2. Are you using renewable GreenPower in your own home? If so, what percentage?

Mr Neville: We use off-peak electricity at home.

Mr Messenger: Green power like “man-made climate change” is a con. The only way we can have cheap, reliable power is to use electricity from coal-fired power stations.

Mr Dempsey: No, at this stage I use the standard electricity supply. But I try to use off-peak power where possible.

Cr Pyefinch: I don’t think we do but I would need to check.

3. What kind of car do you drive? Is it a hybrid or fuel-efficient car? If not, when you get your next car will you commit to a more fuel-efficient model?

Mr Neville: I have a Toyota Aurion, which is very fuel efficient. It rates 4-star in the Green Vehicle Guide rating, which is the highest rating of any electorate vehicle available to MPs.

Mr Messenger: I drive a six-cylinder four-wheel drive that has enough power and mobility to get me and my family safely out of flooded drive ways and creek crossings, during cyclone season and out of harm’s way in bushfire season.

Mr Dempsey: I have a Nissan Patrol, as I needed a seven-seater car to accommodate my family.

Cr Pyefinch: Our family car is a hybrid, which we have had for just over two years. My own car is a two-year-old medium sized sedan (not a council car) which is quite fuel-efficient. I am interested in buying a hybrid when I replace it, though.

4. Does your home have a solar or heat pump hot water system?

Mr Neville: No.

Mr Messenger: No, my house doesn’t have a solar hot water pump yet. It is something we may invest in when the current Australian-made model breaks.

Mr Dempsey: No, but as I have only recently moved into my house at Kepnock, this is something I am looking into.

Cr Pyefinch: We have used solar hot water systems for more than 20 years in our family homes.

5. Does your home have insulation?

Mr Neville: I’m in the process of having it installed.

Mr Messenger: Yes, I have insulation in my roof.

Mr Dempsey: Yes, I have insulation, and my home is also designed to make the most of the sunlight and breezes.

Cr Pyefinch: Yes — fully installed with batts.

6. Do you adjust your thermostat to use less energy?

Mr Neville: No, there’s no thermostat adjustment as we use off-peak.

Mr Messenger: I don’t have a thermostat or air-conditioning.

Mr Dempsey: With young children in my home, I keep my thermostat at a low level at all times for their safety.

Cr Pyefinch: We have solar hot water.

7. Have you replaced all of your home’s incandescent globes with energy-saving globes?

Mr Neville: Most of the globes have been replaced with the energy-saving ones, and we’ve also got energy-efficient floor lamps.

Mr Messenger: I’m very concerned by the damage that mercury contained in “energy saving” light globes is causing to the environment. I need more information on them before I convert the whole house.

Mr Dempsey: Yes, where possible I have incandescent globes.

Cr Pyefinch: We have been gradually replacing our globes as they blow, although we have found some of the light fittings themselves have not been well designed to use the new bulbs so we will eventually replace those as well.

8. Do you have triple star water-efficient shower heads in your home?

Mr Neville: One of the shower heads is water efficient, one is not.

Mr Messenger: I have a shower head that is very efficient. I don’t know the rating but we keep a very close eye on the water we use.

Mr Dempsey: Yes, I do have triple star water-efficient shower heads in my home and my children and I have discussed the importance of being water wise.

Cr Pyefinch: Not sure — we did not build the house.

9. Do you recycle everything that shows is recyclable in your local area?

Mr Neville: Yes, we are keen recyclers.

Mr Messenger: I use both bins (yellow recycle and grey garbage) supplied by Bundaberg Regional Council.

Mr Dempsey: My children and I have talked about the importance of recycling and we do use our recycling bin where possible. I also place a great emphasis on recycling in my electorate office.

Cr Pyefinch: Yes. We were participants in the voluntary recycling program when it was first introduced in Bundaberg City in the early 1990s and have been ever since.

10. Do you carbon offset your aircraft flights?

Mr Neville: My airfares are paid for by the Commonwealth. We’re not aware of any option to offset them, and if it was possible it would come at more expense to the taxpayer.

Mr Messenger: Why would I pay extra money to offset aircraft flights? Offsetting flights is not going to stop climate change or sea levels from rising. It’s just being more wasteful.

Mr Dempsey: Because my work flights are organised through Parliamentary Services, this is unfortunately not an option available as the higher cost would be passed on to the Queensland taxpayers.

Cr Pyefinch: No.

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