Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 2 Hansard (11 February) . . Page.. 634..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
engagement process, through which we put to the people of Canberra a number of initiatives which we in government would pursue. To that extent, we have sought to engage with this community, and the community has responded—rather ambiguously, perhaps—through the ballot box in relation to initiatives which might be pursued.
In that context, we are, of course, committed to arrangements which we have made with the Greens party in relation to a number of initiatives, one of those being waste. There are, obviously and appropriately, commitments which we as a government or as a party have made in an agreement with the Greens. We have a number of other commitments that we have made to the electorate through an election campaign. An issue for the government now is the prioritisation of those. We will do that in consultation with the Assembly and would be more than happy to pursue a broader conversation or consultation with the community in relation to those particular initiatives that might be pursued and that would best suit the immediate need or would actually attract the strongest support from the people of Canberra.
I think we need to be pragmatic at some level, too, but we should engage and consult in relation to these things. It has been identified to me by Waste ACT that one of the most immediate impacts that could be made on recycling or on waste or the reduction of waste to landfill, to the tune of reducing waste to landfill by 20,000 tonnes per year, or 10 per cent of waste that is currently sent to landfill—and I must say this is the favourite next step of Waste ACT—is to separate waste dropped off at Canberra's transfer stations into different waste streams for recycling. We did, in the election campaign, commit $4.7 million to that particular initiative. This is one of the waste initiatives that we would certainly wish to discuss with our partners, the Greens, and discuss more broadly—
Mr Seselja: Partners?
Mr Smyth: Oh, partners!
MR STANHOPE: We have a partnership agreement. Eat your heart out. That is in the context of professional advice which I receive as minister. A preferred next initiative of Waste ACT is that an immediate 10 per cent increase in recycling, a 20,000 tonnes per annum reduction in waste to landfill, could be achieved by actually separating waste into streams at the tip face. An initiative which we put front and centre of election commitments that we have made is that we will consult, certainly with the Assembly and more broadly, on each of those issues.
There is the initiative which Ms Hunter has just raised, which is very attractive and which I think serves a purpose other than just the percentage of waste to landfill. It has a cost; it costs about $1 million a year. To provide 400 street-level recycling bins would cost in the order of $1 million, and it will not have nearly the impact that a $4.7 million investment at the tip face would have. Street-level bins at $1 million will not have the same impact as a $4.7 million investment at the tip face. I am advised that it just will not keep the same amount of waste out of landfill. These are issues which we need to talk about and discuss, and they are decisions which we need to make, having regard to the nature of our budget and our capacity. But we are committed to a no waste policy and we will pursue new strategic initiatives to achieve