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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 3 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 949..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

The three components that have our attention include domestic waste. I believe that, on domestic waste, the ACT is doing the best in the country. I am happy to stand corrected, but I believe this to be the case. Something in the order of 92, 93 or 94 per cent of stuff is now recycled and which used to go to landfill.

The construction and demolition sector are going well. They are achieving some very high results. One of the difficulties in that regard relates to the site on Fairbairn Avenue—the Pialligo Avenue area over near the airport—where the commonwealth owns the land. We do not have any jurisdiction over that, and they are providing pricing regimes which are actually discouraging rather than encouraging recycling.

The commercial sector presents a difficulty. People in the commercial sector have embraced paper recycling but they have not embraced some of the other recycling initiatives in the way that they should. Just the other day I had conversations with officers from the National Packaging Covenant about working with that particular group of people. They are talking about recycling activities involving packaging in the commercial sector. They want to see less packaging in terms of plastics. We talked about computer disposal.

We also have the best regime in the country in terms of the free collection of green waste. Our figures are comparable with those anywhere in Australia, in my view. We already have a mindset around the recycling of green waste, which had its genesis when we had those small tin bins. Some of the older members of the Assembly would remember putting out the little tin bins. You could not shove half a tree in those bins, so people got used to doing something else with it. When we opened up the free recycling facility at the Mugga Lane landfill, and also at Belconnen, people got used to taking their stuff out there.

Further, we have a very viable trash pack industry. I would encourage people who want us to put bins outside people's houses to collect green waste to consider the impact it would have on that particular industry. They provide a very good opportunity for pruning exercises and leaf collection. So, in answer to Dr Foskey's question about what things we are doing, the succinct answer is: lots of them.

MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?

DR FOSKEY: Is the minister considering extending the kerbside collections and reinstating and installing a transfer station to assist residents and businesses in their recycling efforts?

MR HARGREAVES: No, Mr Speaker.

Schools—closures

MR PRATT: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister. Ms Gallagher, yesterday you apologised for an unauthorised comment made by a spokesperson from your office regarding school closures. However, this so-called unauthorised statement was consistent with two statements that you made in the Legislative Assembly on 24 August 2004 about the government not having plans to close any schools. Why do


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