Caroline Le Couteur is the ACT Greens Member for Murrumbidgee, elected in October 2016.
Together with fellow Greens MLA and Minister Shane Rattenbury, Caroline holds the balance of power in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Caroline has spent her life making our community fairer and more sustainable. She was a founding director of Australian Ethical Investment, an ASX listed company that only invests in ethical and responsible companies. She has also been the Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a not-for-profit organisation that fights to improve the sustainability of Australian businesses.
She was previously elected as Member for Molonglo in 2008, and her achievements included helping secure the ACT's greenhouse gas reduction target, improving consultation on local planning and strengthening animal welfare.
Caroline grew up in Canberra and studied economics at the Australian National University. She has lived in Canberra for most of her life, spending nearly 20 years in Woden where she now resides with her husband.
Caroline's commitment to Canberrans
In this term of the Assembly, Caroline will continue to put community first and work for a fairer and more sustainable Canberra by:
Improving the planning system
Caroline wants to see Canberra built to serve the community, not developers. That’ s why she supported the Curtin community to stop an inappropriate six-storey development replacing the existing shopping centre. The Greens also fought hard to ensure that the two new agencies replacing the Land Development Agency will have targets for affordable and public housing as well as environmental sustainability. This means no more government land sales just for profit. As Chair of the Planning Committee, Caroline will will be scrutinising the Government’s proposed planning changes, pushing for better community consultation and a more sustainable city.
Continuing real action to address climate change and transition to clean energy
The Greens pushed the ACT Government to set greenhouse gas targets as far back as 1996, and it was this ongoing concern for climate change that brought Caroline back to the Assembly in 2016. Caroline is committed to protecting the local environment and supporting our community and city to do everything we can to combat human-induced climate change. With Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury as Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, the ACT is on track to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2020. By closely engaging with our community, we are also developing a plan to reach zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest. The establishment of a container deposit scheme and micro parks, as well as looking into energy efficiency standards for rental properties, are also Greens' initiatives.
Creating a more sustainable Canberra
Caroline has a vision for Canberra as a truly sustainable city, that meets the needs of a 21st century community while addressing the challenges of climate change. This vision includes better walking and cycling infrastructure, and a public transport network that connects all of Canberra. Our homes are also key to our quality of life - all Canberrans should benefit from good urban design, and have the opportunity to improve their energy efficiency and to play an active role in reducing the ACT’s greenhouse emissions.
Providing more affordable and appropriate housing
Housing remains the biggest cost of living issue for households, so what can be done? Caroline believes that access to safe, secure, appropriate and affordable housing must be addressed as a policy priority, which is why the Greens-Labor Parliamentary Agreement includes a range of policy changes to reduce homelessness and poverty caused by the cost of housing in Canberra. Caroline is committed to improving affordable and public housing in Canberra and believes that it should be equitably spread across the city to achieve the best social inclusion outcomes.
Supporting new approaches to community consultation
Canberrans often say to Caroline that they don’t have the information they need to understand why decisions are made and they don’t know how, or even whether, their feedback influences the government. As an elected representative, Caroline is committed to bringing community voices to the Assembly and advocating for better ways of involving citizens in government decision-making. A commitment to greater deliberative democracy is included in the Greens-Labor Parliamentary Agreement and has resulted in the first citizens' jury. Caroline has also secured the Government's commitment to a participatory budgeting trial for part of the City Services budget, and will keep pushing for more meaningful community consultation as our city grows and changes.