Page 752 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022

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Older Canberrans, possibly frail, who are proud, have some dignity. They are happy to take their own bins out, but if you make it a bigger bin, which is full of rubbish because it is two weeks since the last collection, they are not going to be able to cart it up to the kerb. They have lost that bit of independence and agency, and that is a really shameful thing as well. In effect, you are forcing them onto this bin assistance program. Whilst it is great to have, I sense there may be an uptick in the take-up of that bin assistance program. It is a matter of pride. The ability to undertake daily tasks without asking for help is about basic human dignity, and you are taking that away, potentially, from a big range of Canberrans.

The minister is most likely to say that the model being trialled with fortnightly rubbish collection is based on the experience of local councils across Australia. This is, indeed, the case; but it is also worth noting, colleagues, that there are a number of councils across Australia who have FOGO programs and weekly rubbish collections. I am not sure if you heard that: they have FOGO programs and weekly rubbish collections. For example, Wollongong City Council and Ipswich City Council both have food and organic waste schemes and weekly rubbish collection. In fact, in Victoria, the Hobson’s Bay Council reversed its decision on fortnightly rubbish collection to reinstate weekly collections, following community concerns.

We have this trial or pilot going on in Belconnen. We need to learn from that and from the experiences of other councils because, remember, this is a basic local council issue—a basic municipal issue. The government—the council—must collect the rubbish, not leave it festering in people’s backyards and carports. It is not good enough for the Labor-Greens government to pick and choose some councils that are doing it fortnightly and say, “We are doing what others are doing.” This is a trial, and the government needs to take the feedback seriously before they roll it out across the ACT in the exact same format. All we are asking is that they reconsider and genuinely assess the feedback from this trial.

We also hear from participants that there is not enough of an online option for participants to give their feedback. When I asked the minister where residents could write to, to provide feedback on the scheme, he responded that there was a government email; but we need a specific feedback point for the pilot. What is the point of a pilot if not to collect feedback and act on it in a meaningful way before you roll it out to everyone else across the ACT? That is why you have pilots. You do it on a small scale to start with so that you can gather that feedback.

I know that my colleagues in Ginninderra, representing the Belconnen area, have been getting contact from a lot of residents who simply want to know where they should go to provide their feedback on the FOGO pilot. Despite this, the minister has already claimed—I think it was in the Riotact—how successful the trial has been and has claimed it is receiving lots of support.

I think the FOGO trial is successful. It is a good thing; it is the garbage collection that we need to do more on. FOGO does have a lot of support; but the problem is when you roll out something with a one-size-fits-all solution, you disenfranchise and discourage so many people who do not fit into that one-size bucket.

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