Thank you for all your contributions, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, ACT Greens Member for Murrumbidgee


This week, Caroline Le Couteur took her place in the ACT Legislative Assembly for the last time, after a total of eight years representing the electorates of Murrumbidgee and Molonglo. Her retirement will be a huge loss, but her incredible legacy as a Greens warrior will live on.

Caroline has spent her life working to create a better world. 

She understands the realities of the climate crisis and ecological destruction and they are above all what brought her to serve in the Assembly. Caroline spoke in the Assembly today to feeling overwhelmed by the lack of action, worldwide, to address the climate emergency - a feeling that many of us share. 

Yet in the face of the climate crisis, Caroline has never wavered in her commitment to make a difference. We are immensely proud of the role she has played in the Assembly, helping to spearhead the world leading legislation that has led to a 40% reduction in the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions this year,  and our world-leading 100% renewable electricity achievement.

Caroline understands, better than most, that a functioning, modern planning system must account for climate readiness, and she has fought hard to make improvements to Canberra’s outdated and underperforming planning system. 

She understands that our planning system should serve our Canberra residents. It may seem a straightforward proposition, but Caroline has consistently been the Member of the Assembly who has pointed out the flaws in the planning system, and the solutions needed to fix it. 

Just this past week, Caroline’s legislation has ensured that high greenhouse gas-emitting development proposals will be required to account for their planet-warming emissions in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), for the first time in ACT history. This will give Canberrans the opportunity to fight for them to be cleaner and greener, and better for our community.

Caroline understands, as do the Greens as a party, the importance of reaching our decisions in step with our community and the best evidence before us. Like many in our community, we recognise that too often, consultation around planning decisions is fraught. Too often, the voices of our community are not sought out. Where community views are sought out, they are too often ignored. Canberrans rightly expect better.

Caroline has worked hard to improve planning consultation processes in the ACT.  On occasions too numerous to mention, she has stood up for our community against bad  developments - and given the community more say over a range of decisions. She increased appeal rights, making the government notify residents when there are developments about to happen nearby, but also making sure the government makes it clear when they are simply notifying them of a decision, rather than pretending that they are consulting when they can’t change the outcome.

There’s still so much to do, but there’s no question that much of this progress would not have been achieved without Caroline’s steely efforts.

Caroline understands, and has understood for many years, that every election is a climate and environment election. While today the other parties speak to the importance of trees, over many years this was a battle that we Greens fought largely alone. Caroline has done an incredible job in putting tree-planting on everyone’s collective agenda over the past few years - to a point where the other parties are trying hard to outgun one another on just how many trees they will plant. Caroline also did a great job securing household food composting options that will come into effect in 2023.

This is what an effective Greens MLA does - we pull the other parties in the right direction on the issues that matter most to our community. And this is what Caroline has achieved in her time here.

Caroline understands the importance of women’s rights, and that there is still a long way to go. Many MLAs from both parties will never forget the day that Caroline stood in the Assembly and bravely spoke to her personal experiences with sexual assault, and how this informs her empathy and appreciation for victims of these terrible crimes. Caroline took this experience and delivered enormous outcomes, including laws against intimate images abuse, or ‘revenge porn’. She also has progressed the conversation around the need for a better definition in our legislation of sexual consent far beyond what would otherwise have been the case without her.  The Greens will push to complete this work as a priority in the 10th Assembly.

Caroline understands that successful, plentiful public, community and social housing benefits everyone. In Canberra we have more accessible and affordable housing options than we had four years ago in no small part due to her advocacy. Caroline helped secure a commitment to targets for public, community and affordable housing in new land release and urban renewal - targets that she rightly argues deserve much greater ambition.  

Caroline also appreciates how we treat animals is a reflection of our humanity.  She has been at the forefront of many animal welfare reforms, including banning puppy and kitten farms, and banning caged egg production in the ACT.  

Caroline has played an important role as a crossbencher over the course of this Assembly term. This is not an easy position. Holding governments and departments to account is no mean feat - it requires real resilience, and real integrity. 

She has achieved all of this while always playing the ball, not the person. Despite facing a regular barrage from the other parties, Caroline has never resorted to petty politics. Her integrity has been a shining light in the Assembly chamber. 

Caroline, you have done our community proud.

It is going to be sad to say goodbye but it has been a real privilege to serve alongside such a committed, passionate, and effective champion for climate action, animal welfare, clean energy and genuine democracy. 

Our movement is stronger for having you as our representative in this place.

Thank you for all your efforts as we work to accelerate our efforts in the climate emergency - to protect future generations - and to act in the interests of all of us, especially the most vulnerable in our community.

Thank you for your commitment to deliver the Greens vision of a better future for all Canberrans.


Shane Rattenbury MLA
ACT Greens leader
ACT Greens Member for Kurrajon