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MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Berry very much for his question. Had Mr Berry been reading his newspapers, watching television and listening to the radio, he would have realised that some two or three weeks ago ACTEW opened three or four energy efficient houses at Nicholls. ACTEW, instead of actually promoting the sale of electricity, was in fact doing the exact opposite. As it was under the previous Government, under this Government ACTEW will be directed to make sure that energy conservation is one of its prime raisons d'etre. There is no change in that, except that this Government will be more forceful than the previous Government in making sure that energy conservation - and water conservation, by the way - are essential elements in any future role that ACTEW has in this Territory.

Commercial Waste Recycling

MS HORODNY: My question is addressed to the Minister for Urban Services. While there has been some success in reducing the level of household waste following the introduction of domestic kerbside recycling collection, there are still substantial amounts of recyclable waste which goes straight to landfill. A lot of this comes from businesses, from commercial areas. Prior to the introduction of kerbside collection, businesses had access to the recycling collection points in local commercial centres. These have now been removed since kerbside collections started. What, if anything, does the Government intend to do to ensure that businesses in the commercial centres are provided with, and have an incentive to use, recycling facilities? Mr De Domenico was given notice of this some hours ago.

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Horodny for giving me prior notice of her intention to ask this question. Under the Building and Services Act 1924, the ACT Government is charged with the responsibility for the collection of household garbage. Responsibility for the collection of waste from commercial properties became the sole responsibility of private operators following the sale of the Government's trade waste collection service in 1991. This sale was undertaken as a result of trade waste becoming increasingly uncompetitive in the marketplace.

Recycling collections from commercial premises, as well as waste collection services, are the responsibility of the commercial operators. Canberra Paper and Cardboard provides a paper collection service for government and commercial properties. A range of drop-off facilities are also provided throughout Canberra for paper, glass, plastic and metals. Totalcare provides a collection service for used motor oil, and a commercial service, Vatman, is also available for the recycling of cooking oils.

In addition to the provision of drop-off facilities throughout Canberra, the Government's charging policies for the disposal of commercial waste at landfills are a direct incentive for waste minimisation and recycling. Browning-Ferris Industries, BFI, the domestic recycling contractor, have indicated that they are evaluating the establishment of a recycling collection service for commercial properties, and my department is actively encouraging the establishment of such a service.

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