Page 760 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022

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Our local Greens are more veiled in their statements on population, but the hypocrisy of their position is still stark. I read from the ACT Greens’ plan for Canberra. Under their population principles they say:

The ACT Greens believe:

… achieving an ecologically sustainable population in the ACT should take into account social justice …

I want to be clear that the shift to fortnightly rubbish collection will hurt families who choose to have multiple children. As data from the ABS and Commonwealth Treasury show, many of these families will be vulnerable and disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and refugee families. Families with medical needs will also be harmed by this policy. The Greens pretend to be the champions of such families, but I ask you: where is the social justice in this decision?

Moving weekly rubbish collections to fortnightly pick-ups will add another degree of stress onto families who have been through enough these last few years. Are rising inflation, increased cost of living and sky high petrol prices not already putting enough pressure on families? Now this government wants to reduce rubbish services and possibly force people to pay for their rubbish at the tip, on top of ever-increasing rates. Again, how is this just? It is uncaring and it is wrong.

One way that the ACT government justifies this reduction in services is by saying that other council areas in Australia that have implemented FOGO have changed their rubbish collection to fortnightly. But not all of these other council areas are directly comparable to ours. The Coffs Harbour, Clarence Valley, Bellingen and Nambucca council areas have implemented FOGO and fortnightly rubbish collections. However, their rubbish bins are 100 litres larger than the ones provided by our government. As a consequence, they are, of course, able to fit more rubbish in their bins between collections and deal better with fortnightly pick-ups.

Labor and the Greens have recognised that bin size might be a problem and have said that there will be the option for Canberrans to get a bigger bin, but—surprise, surprise!—there will be a monthly tax on it, on top of our rates. This is their solution to everything. How does this take into account social justice at all? It does not. It is, frankly, hypocrisy.

In the Southern Grampians in Victoria, where they also have FOGO, there is a one-off payment of $85 to buy a bigger bin. That is it. Once you have paid it, it is yours. What our government wants to do is cut your service and then charge you a monthly tax to deal with the ramifications of its own decisions. This will be an unfair and targeted tax on families. You do not need to be a high-level policy analyst to know which groups will be most impacted by this change. Families will be the ones most harmed by this, especially families with infants.

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