Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 2 Hansard (11 February) . . Page.. 641..
MR BARR (continuing):
synthetic surface right. We would not want to do an overnight job. Again I remind the Assembly of the irony of the Liberal Party raising concerns about children and barbed wire. We know their record in relation to those matters. It is all silent now, isn't it? That is right. It is hitting home, isn't it? It took a little while to sink in.
The importance of this package is further enhanced by the strong level of community support and the strong level of support by education stakeholders, both at the territory level and the national level. The question that those opposite finally, at some point in this debate, once they finish that extensive internal discussion and every shadow minister and the Leader of the Opposition come to a different position on different days, they will have to declare a position one way or the other.
We look forward to that day and I think the people of Canberra look forward to that day. If ultimately they do end up opposing the package, then I certainly hope not to hear from the shadow minister for education asking for invitations to morning teas for the launches of all of these school projects.
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and is in regard to organic waste. Given that numerous jurisdictions in Australia and around the world are now running successful organic recycling programs and that the Chifley organic waste recycling trial was completed eight years ago, can the minister explain why the government has not taken steps to implement organic recycling in Canberra?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. As I indicated earlier—and I will just repeat it quickly—as a jurisdiction, the ACT has moved in the last 10 years, and most particularly over the last seven, from a position where 22 per cent of waste in the ACT was recycled to a position where somewhere between 73 and 74 per cent of waste is recycled. I am advised by my officials that that is the best rate of recycling by any city in Australia and, indeed, equal to the best in the world. That is the level which we are at in relation to our achievements and our effort in relation to recycling. That effort, of course, comes at significant expense.
At the end of the day, governments make difficult decisions in relation to the prioritising of funding and expenditure. To the extent that a simple or blunt question is asked, seeking a black and white answer on issues in relation to achievements to date and particular policy issues to date, at the end of the day it probably comes down to issues around resourcing as much as anything else. I think we do need to understand the resource environment in relation to any government policy.
This ACT government, the Labor Party, has expressed our support—and we have expressed this support to you, quite correctly—for pursuing a current trial in relation to organic waste recycling. I do not want to labour the point, but in relation to this issue of waste we have, in the context of our commitment to no waste, a commitment which we have pursued vigorously in our time in government, to the point where we have increased recycling from, as I understand it, around 22 per cent to 73 or 74 per cent. That is a fantastic achievement and it has come as a result of significant investment by this government in waste.