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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 294 ..

Report on Existing Petrol Sites Policy

MR HIRD (11.23): I present Report No. 17 of the Standing Committee on Urban Services, entitled "The Existing Petrol Sites Policy", together with a copy of extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, as chair of the Urban Services Committee, I am pleased to table the report by that committee. The origin of the report lay in a motion moved in this parliament by our honourable colleague Mr Hargreaves on 2 September last year. Mr Hargreaves' motion called upon the Government to amend the existing petrol sites policy, largely in order to improve and formalise the requirement for proper remediation measures. In debate upon Mr Hargreaves' motion, an amendment was successfully moved which referred the whole matter to my committee; that is, the Urban Services Committee.

We advertised for public comment, and held a public hearing on 16 October last year. This public hearing involved not just the petrol sites issue but another issue which the committee was examining and which is very closely related. This was our inquiry into the exposure draft of the Government's Environment Protection (Amendment) Bill 1998. That Bill provides for the management of contaminated land, whether on petrol sites or elsewhere, and its remediation.

The Urban Services Committee reported on the exposure draft in October last year. We made many detailed recommendations on how to improve aspects of the Bill, but fundamentally we supported its purpose and nature. We have reproduced, in the report I have tabled today, those particular recommendations which bear directly on the issue of existing petrol sites policy. Members will find these set out on pages 12 to 14 of our report.

Mr Speaker, the motion passed by the house required us to report on six specific terms of reference contained in Mr Hargreaves' motion. Members will find that we have done this on pages 14 to 18 of our report. In addition, we have made seven specific recommendations of our own. Members will find a summary of these on page v of the report and a longer elaboration of them on pages 14 to 18. I would like to mention two of these recommendations, if I may, Mr Speaker.

Recommendation 5 calls upon the Government to advise the parliament about the manner in which appropriate environmental controls may be exercised over small operators, such as backyard workshops. This recommendation arises out of the concern expressed in evidence given to the committee by the Motor Trades Association that, while its members are doing all that they can to comply with the tough environmental controls placed on them, some small private operators - backyard operators - are not properly monitored for the way in which they handle oil and other products and their disposal. The committee is worried by this possibility and would like the Government to examine the matter further.

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