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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2944 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

that we have been accepting this stuff since 1996 and we never once sought to find out what was in it. We have this one small load. It is just an aberration; nothing to worry about. We can deal with this one small load".

Then the final paragraph says:

There are strict procedures for handling and accepting waste. As soon as management was alerted by staff of this concern, it acted and undertook the process of testing the questionable load.

Once again there is reference to the singular - this single questionable little load off to the side: "There is nothing to worry about. We have it under control". The testing, of course, was not done by Mr Smyth, or his staff, or government agents. The testing was done by the CFMEU. That was another misleading statement.

The Government did not have it under control at all. It was the CFMEU that took action as a result of concerns brought to it by its workers, the people it represented. Even at that stage the Government was not doing anything. Mr Smyth has now conceded, as a result of Mr Moore's attempts to convince us - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Moore's gaff.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, that is it. As a result of Mr Moore's gaff, Mr Smyth interceded to say that, in fact, they did not do anything for three weeks. They kept accepting the stuff. They did not rely on the CFMEU. The Government was not prepared to rely on the tests undertaken by the CFMEU, so they kept accepting the stuff for another three weeks. As a result of that, Ms Tucker, in seeking to draw attention to the fact that this was a serious issue, visited the tip.

Now, remarkably, quite staggeringly, Ms Tucker is being upbraided in a quite puerile way by the Minister for Health. The Minister for Health upbraids Ms Tucker for bringing this matter to the attention of the Canberra community and forcing this Government to act on a serious health issue. The Minister upbraids Ms Tucker for seeking to protect the lives of people working at the tip and the environmental integrity of our community. How amazing. How absolutely staggering for the Minister for Health to take that attitude to this serious issue.

This is a serious issue and this is a serious censure motion. There is this move around this place to downplay and to downgrade the significance of any censure measure. I know that Mr Rugendyke in the past has had some difficulty accepting some notions of how high the bar needs to be raised in relation to these issues. I say to Mr Rugendyke: Mr Rugendyke, this tip is in your electorate. These workers are workers from your electorate. These workers had their lives endangered by this Government's inaction and this Government's incompetence. It is in your electorate that this floc has been flying around in the air for the last three years. Highly contaminated lead polluted floc has been flying over Belconnen, affecting the lives and the welfare of your constituents. How high or how low do you want the bar on something like this? I ask you that, Mr Rugendyke. This is your electorate. These workers vote for you.

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