Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2935 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
management procedures at the landfill - Ms Tucker is concerned about that and I am prepared to support her on that - and, secondly, a report on the procedures for checking the acceptability of waste delivered to the site.
If the Minister does both of those things and rectifies any current omissions or flaws in the process, I think that ought to satisfy the issue. To accept the argument put forward by Ms Tucker and Mr Corbell, you would have to assume that everybody in the management chain connected with that landfill failed somehow in their public duty to have recognised, or ignored, the fact that there was a problem. From what the Minister has said, I do not believe that was the case. I believe that the matter was brought to the attention of the subordinate management there and that appropriate action was taken.
It is absurd to suggest that the Minister, sitting in his office in this building, ought to be on top of everything that happens at the landfill on a day-to-day basis or an hour-by-hour basis. He has to be advised and informed by the people who are responsible for management there. He was so informed and he has told me that certain action had flowed which, in my view, was appropriate. I am prepared to accept that. As I say, I do not want to get into the middle of a cat fight between the trade unions and the Government which surely has some political objective. I am not interested in that, but I am interested in preserving the public interest in terms of the health and the wellbeing of people who work at the landfill. Mr Speaker, I move the amendment. I hope that it will satisfy the complainants. It ought to. If my amendment fails, I will vote against the censure motion.
MR SPEAKER: There are, in fact, two amendments, not one. Is leave granted for Mr Kaine to move both amendments together?
MR KAINE: I move:
(1) Paragraph (1), omit the paragraph.
(2) Subparagraph 2 (a), after "Landfill;", add "and"; subparagraph 2 (b), after "site;", omit "and"; and subparagraph 2 (c), omit the subparagraph.
MR WOOD (11.2l): Mr Smyth is in trouble today because he is careless with words. It is not the first time in this Assembly that he has faced a censure on those grounds. Perhaps that is why in the public domain he is increasingly falling back on the use of a spokesperson when there are difficult circumstances to be met. He has been loose with words again today. My specific response will be in relation to his claim that he has acted in the same way as I did in respect of the contamination at allotments in Theodore. In fact, I acted very differently then from the way he has acted now.
The Minister said, "We found problems and then we undertook further testing to get to the full extent of those problems". So we did; there is no question about that. He said later in his speech, "We acted only when we had scientific evidence". Here we have the difference, and it is the key difference. He has picked a very poor example to try to defend his position. When we found that there was arsenic contamination of sites where people were living, I acted immediately as Minister. We had evidence of a problem. We