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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2931 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

management system will be ensuring that for large volumes of waste there is an understanding of the source generating the waste, thus minimising the risk of unacceptable contamination.

Ms Tucker asked why we take waste from other States. We take waste from other States because waste management in the ACT cannot be considered in isolation from the broader regional and waste management issues. Clearly, when we talk about greenhouse gases, we take responsibility for gases generated on our behalf in Victoria, for instance, as is appropriate. WorkCover will continue to investigate the matter, along with the Environment Management Authority. Indeed, the New South Wales EPA is currently investigating whether Metalcorp Recycling has breached the laws that govern the transport of waste within New South Wales.

Mr Speaker, the ACT exports a substantial stream of materials for recycling in other States. For example, in 1998-99 we exported 7,093 tonnes of glass, 4,328 tonnes of metal, 41,974 tonnes of paper, 1,565 tonnes of plastic, 3,172 tonnes of motor oil and 3,500 tonnes of liquid paperboard. On the other side of the balance sheet, the ACT accepts material, such as 9,550 tonnes from Queanbeyan's domestic waste and, of course, the metal floc that is the issue of this debate today.

Mr Speaker, in essence, this censure motion is a waste of the Assembly's time. If the standards that Ms Tucker is now attempting to apply had been applied to previous Ministers, perhaps Gary Humphries and Bill Wood should have been censured for acting only when they had scientific evidence. The opinion of Kerrie Tucker is not scientific evidence. As I look around the chamber, few of us would have the scientific knowledge or ability that would allow us to look at a pile of floc and determine what it was.

Mr Speaker, when the Government got scientific evidence it acted; not before and not after. What Ms Tucker seems to be neglecting here is that a firm has dumped the contaminated metal at the Belconnen tip without approval. It would appear that the company has broken environmental guidelines and its commitments to ACT Waste. That is why, as soon as the Government found out the contents, the company was requested to remove this material. The reality is that, while we can educate people on what should and should not go into landfills, we cannot check every piece of rubbish that the community puts in its bins and into the tip. But we can check suspicious rubbish.

Mr Stanhope: This is thousands of tonnes of rubbish.

MR SMYTH: That is exactly what happened here.

Mr Moore: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, just before Mr Corbell starts, so I do not interrupt him. There has been quite a bit of interjecting coming from the Opposition so far, Mr Speaker. If they want a censure motion to be taken seriously, they should treat it as a serious matter as well, which is a normal process in dealing with a censure motion.

MR SPEAKER: I do uphold the comment.

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