Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2951 ..
Ms Carnell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Berry is reflecting on previous votes of this Assembly, and in a very inappropriate manner.
MR BERRY: No, I am not. I am not reflecting on it.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, would you mind just addressing the motion before the house.
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I merely draw attention to that pattern - - -
MR SPEAKER: Stop trying to provoke.
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I am not the one under attack here.
MR SPEAKER: You will be if you keep this up.
MR BERRY: Well, thank you for the threat, Mr Speaker. So I draw attention to that. The issue is about misleading the community about a serious public health matter. Mr Moore tried to deride Ms Tucker about her attendance at the tip for a brief time. I assume she was allowed into the tip by tip management. If there was a danger there, and it seems that Mr Moore and Mr Hird both think so - they acknowledged that there was a danger there - why were Ms Tucker and others all allowed into the tip? That is a breach of their duty of care, if they take the time to read the legislation.
Mr Moore might also question his own standing as a Health Minister when he can stand up here and say it is a problem for Ms Tucker to go in there for a few minutes, but it is not a problem for people to go there and work there for four years. As his health officer said, it becomes a problem after long exposure. So let us be fair dinkum about it. This is a serious matter of long exposure.
Mr Speaker, I was surprised today at the acknowledgment that this has been going on for four years. Some figures have been tabled today. I suspect that was in response to a proposed motion that I had circulated which set out the one set of tests that were conducted in relation to these lead levels in 1996. Those documents acknowledge the existence, among other things, of lead in the loads, Mr Speaker, and that is a significant admission, in my view, that there is a problem and that further testing might well be required. Mr Speaker, those tests were not conducted, as far as I can make out from this debate. Now, that is not really the issue here. The issue is whether the community was misled in relation to the matter and whether people went along, unknowingly, and were exposed to toxic amounts of lead.
Workers have been working with this contaminated waste for four years that we know of. There are thousands and thousands of tonnes out there and they have certainly been exposed to it one way or another. Mr Speaker, the community have been exposed to this over a period of years. I do not say this from any expert view in relation to the matter, but I think it is fair to say, on the basis of what the Chief Health Officer says, that there would probably be very little danger to people who visit it but there is, nevertheless, a hazard. It may be small or large, depending on how many times you visit the tip.
Ms Carnell: No.