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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1204 ..

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government examine the published literature on the environmental impacts of the different end-of-life options including cremation, lawn burials and natural burials.

The committee said that because when we asked Canberra Cemeteries about what environmental information they had about this they said they did not know of any. But, as members may be aware, because I have said it in this place before, the South Australian parliament in, I think, 2008, not 2007, published a very detailed report on natural burial which included some environmental impact studies for all the various methods of end-of-life body disposal. So I thought it was very unfortunate that Canberra Cemeteries were not aware of this.

The other area where I thought it was very unfortunate that the government was not actually aware of what was going on—and this is in paragraph 4.43 of our report—was with regard to the third bin for organic waste. The committee was told that it is only a small proportion of what goes into the residential waste bin and therefore a third bin would be inefficient. The committee said:

The Committee would like to draw the government’s attention to the findings of two reports on domestic organic waste. As highlighted by the Commissioner for Sustainability in the 2007 ACT State of the Environment Report, the 2007 Domestic Waste Audit for Thiess Services and ACT NoWaste reported that 48.5% of the domestic waste is organic and ‘provides a clear target for the next significant reduction in waste to landfill’. Similarly, the Report on … Trial, Chifley … 2001 reported that ‘In the ACT, the composition of domestic garbage bins includes 52% … of food and kitchen waste.’

It is really quite worrying that the people who are responsible for delivering these policies and programs do not actually know the facts, which other parts of the government have published, about our waste stream. We can disagree about the best way of addressing the problems but it is really worrying when the officials do not seem to even know the facts about the problems.

Moving along to the recommendations in the report, recommendation 4 is:

The Committee recommends that planning for the provision of ACTION services for the Molonglo region and other new residential areas be anticipated from the beginning of settlement in those areas.

I think this is a particularly good recommendation and it is one that I hope will be followed in Molonglo and in all the new suburbs of Gungahlin and the new suburbs of East Lake when they come online. It is really important that, when people move into a new house, they should find that there is a public transport system that they can use and that they get in the habit that they are in their new house and this is how they go to things, rather than finding that they move in, there is no public transport and their only possible alternative is to become a two-car family. And once they have done that, they are likely to stay that way, even if in the future the public transport improves. So I was very pleased with that recommendation.

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