Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2611 ..
MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):
a participation rate in excess of 98 per cent - the highest participation and resource recovery rate for any kerbside recycling system in Australia. This is something for Canberrans to be proud of. Since the introduction of the domestic environmental levy in January - one that was much maligned by members opposite, by the way - this year - - -
Ms McRae: And rightly so, too.
MR DE DOMENICO: And rightly so, Ms McRae says. Since then there have been major increases in recycling in the Territory. Since we introduced the environmental levy there have been increases in recycling in the Territory - but much maligned by members opposite, and Ms McRae confirmed that - including large increases in the volumes of garden organics being recycled.
The Government's commitment to recycling such organic waste is also reflected, Mr Speaker, in the operations of the organics research centre at the Belconnen landfill which I opened almost three months ago. Mr Whitecross and Mr Berry, I think, were there, especially when the television cameras arrived. The main feature of the centre is the working model of a commercial worm farm where organic wastes are broken down by worms which are now proving to be a key waste reduction tool. Again, Mr Speaker, the ACT is at the forefront of this work.
The recycling results I have outlined clearly reflect the community's enthusiastic attitude towards recycling which will go a long way to help to achieve the ACT's target of a no waste society by the year 2010. Recycling is good not only for reducing waste but also for job creation. Seventy full-time jobs in resource recovery were created in the Territory over the past five years. Mr Speaker, the recycling policies of the Carnell Government make not only good sense but also good economic sense.
MS McRAE: My question, Mr Speaker, is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Education. Minister, is the Government considering a proposal to sell the Territory's schools - and I am talking about schools that are operating and with the children in them - and then lease them back, thus providing an investor or speculator with the opportunity to make a huge windfall profit at the community's expense if the school is closed?
MR STEFANIAK: I think the short answer to the member's question - by "selling the Territory's schools" I take it she means our existing schools, and I did not quite catch what she said about children being in them or not - is that, to my knowledge, Ms McRae, there is no such proposal before the Government in terms of our current schools at this point in time.
MS McRAE: Thank you, Mr Stefaniak. Will you give an unequivocal commitment to the Assembly that not only has the sale and lease-back of the Territory's schools not been considered, but you will not do so during the rest of the term of this Government?