Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4692 ..
MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):
everything that can be done has been done and will be done to make sure that what goes into that sullage pond, which has been there for 20 years without one complaint - not one official complaint through any of the occupational health and safety processes in which the CFMEU are represented, except what people see - - -
Mr Berry: There is an ideological froth there.
MR DE DOMENICO: No froth, Mr Berry. I have said to the CFMEU and any other union, "Come up with the evidence. Come up with the paperwork. Let us sit down around the table and we will sort it out". If you are going to play through the media, we are not in a position of playing through the media. This Government will act upon the facts. Show us the facts and we will act on them. If you do not have the facts, sit down and do not worry about it.
MS HORODNY: My question is directed to the Minister for Health, Mrs Carnell, and relates to the disposal of clinical waste, which, as you would be aware, can contain a range of pathogenic substances that are harmful to human health. Can you tell me how clinical waste from hospitals and medical centres in the ACT is disposed of and how the Government ensures that the correct procedures are followed by these places so that clinical waste is disposed of in a safe and responsible manner?
MRS CARNELL: I certainly can. First of all, you have to make sure that the clinical waste is appropriately collected at the ward level. Clinical waste becomes an issue right from the time a syringe or a swab is used. As I am advised, in each ward we have various containers for various types of waste - for contaminated waste, for sharps, for all of the different styles of waste you can get on a ward. Those different containers are collected in different ways, depending on what sort of waste is involved, and they go to different places. If the waste is not contaminated, some of it will go to the tip; but the vast majority of it goes to the Totalcare facility, the high-temperature incinerator, where contaminated waste is burnt, as by the way is the contaminated waste from doctors' surgeries and other similar facilities around Canberra. It is taken there and burnt. Waste is handled in different ways, but the waste is supposed to be sorted at the ward level so that it can be sent in the right direction.
MS HORODNY: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. You said that it is supposed to be sorted and it is supposed to be incinerated, but you said that some of it goes to the tip. How do you explain that needles, medical tubings and other medical waste have been found at the Belconnen tip? Why is there no waste manifest for the tip?
MRS CARNELL: I understand that it is alleged that it might have come from our hospital system, but I have had no reports at all - - -