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Banking on the PM's foresight

Environment and energy conservation were central to the PN's electoral victory of March 8. To be trusted with the responsibility to deliver on some sectors associated with these promises underlines my past to help shape the success of the future. I have to thank both the electorate as well as the Prime Minister for providing me with this opportunity that I seek to fulfill with vigor.

I will work hard to bring to the fore issues associated with climate change and how this is influenced by our very own day-to-day decisions we make as consumers. I will peg this to the need to conserve energy at domestic and commercial levels as this will not only help preserve our planet but also helps each and every one of us make financial gains bigger than what we incur as costs due to the surcharge on the cost of fuel.

I will work intensely to bring renewable energy technologies closer to home (literally). I will contribute towards mobilising EU funds to provide financial aide for installations at a micro-scale as well as implement a project aimed at developing a wind farm in our bid to make Malta less dependable on a commodity whose price is beyond our control.The legal framework to make this more attractive will be revisited so that energy efficiency in buildings will be enforced. Coupled to this, I will set in motion an aggressive research and innovation policy to help local industry tap into energy efficiency and renewables.

I am a firm believer that Malta can act as a catalyst where off-the-shelf technologies may be redimensioned to suit particular purposes. Malta's constraints, geographical conditions as well as our knowledge and expertise provide good ingredients for success in this regard.

The building industry must be given a renewed impetus to tap more environment-friendly practices. The design stage in any development project is crucial for opportunities to be realised. The choice of materials or good practice methodologies to mitigate impacts (to mention a few) help make buildings more user- and environment-friendly both during development as well as during their use phase.

Third-party liability is also a challenge I intend to tackle diligently and effectively so that third parties feel safer during construction works.

I will continue to work and work hard to create more open spaces for recreational purposes. Improving on our ability to recreate ourselves is tantamount to good quality of life. Combined with this is the need for us to plant more and more trees in our aggressive afforestation efforts.

I will continue to work hard to implement a revised solid waste management strategy to make recycling of and energy recovery from waste the order of the day. We have, over the last five years, laid solid foundations that should augur well for the success of our future in this domain.

I will also dedicate much of my time to issues associated with agriculture and fisheries. The EU funding that we have managed to secure in the sphere of rural development should help make these industries more sustainable, not merely from an economic viewpoint but also from an environmental one too. I will work hard to nurture and proliferate the successes of the past.

The Prime Minister has almost over-emphasised the need to work concurrently with NGOs, constituted bodies, social partners, etc. I take it upon myself, now that I have been bestowed to realise his foresight, to work closer and closer than ever with these interested stakeholders in the change that we are about to embark upon.

I will work hard to ensure that consultations shape the development and implementation of new policy initiatives to rope in support for greater success.

Mr Pullicino is Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs.

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