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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2469 ..

MR MOORE: I think this is the right line item. We can cover it in here. I am sure that Mr De Domenico will do the right thing. Even if I am slightly in the wrong area, he will cover that for me and explain just what is going on with the milk bottles. In this area we have the environmental section, which looks after environmental issues to do with milk bottles. The environmental issue is about the proliferation of those horrible cartons that are supposedly recyclable, which is to a certain extent true, but they are certainly not reusable, which is a higher order priority, before they are recyclable, as are our milk bottles. As everybody knows from the old advertisements, good things come in glass. That is the way we like our milk and, Minister, that is the way we want you to respond and let us know how that is going to be organised. Minister, if you can answer that question, that will help us along the way to understanding what is the best thing to do about your budget, now that we have that excellent invitation from Ms Follett to give her an opportunity to be the Chief Minister.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (11.08): Mr Speaker, I rise as Minister for the Environment to support enthusiastically the decisions taken by this Government in the urban services area to protect and enhance our natural environment. I find it quite extraordinary that this Opposition, which has always professed to have a concern about the environment, should take such pains to attack what they know is likely to be an electorally difficult or even unpopular decision to do things such as close the Ainslie Transfer Station and impose tip fees at Canberra's tips. They well know that the effect of those decisions on the environment is almost certainly going to be salutary.

The fact is that since the 1990-91 budget, when a decision was made by the former Alliance Government to close the Ainslie Transfer Station, there has been a dramatic change in the environment in which people dispose of their rubbish and waste in their own homes. Today, every ACT householder has at his or her disposal door-to-door collected recycling and waste disposal on a scale that was not available before. Indeed, as a result of this Government's actions also, they have access to very cheap composting bins as well. In the circumstance where every citizen every fortnight has a large bin full of recyclable rubbish taken away and every week has a large bin of non-recyclable rubbish taken away, it is irresponsible from an environmental point of view to continue to encourage people to use ordinary waste tips in the same way as they have in the past. It is environmentally irresponsible.

Mr Berry: Now they have to drive to Belconnen with their stuff.

MR HUMPHRIES: They should not have to drive to Belconnen; they should use their recycling facilities. The average household can and should be using kerbside recycling facilities to collect the vast majority of waste that the average household collects. Very occasionally, it will be necessary to take rubbish to a tip somewhere else; but having a convenient and free transfer station, as Labor would wish it to be, encourages people not to recycle but to dispose of their rubbish in that way. It is not responsible to allow that kind of regime to continue.

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