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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2954 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I will make just a couple of points, Mr Speaker, in relation to this debate. I have listened with interest. First, I think there is a lot to be said for what a couple of people have said so far, one by way of an answer to an interjection and the other one in relation to the nature of lead. I listened to Mr Rugendyke, who has worked with lead, and I heard in response to an interjection by the Chief Minister that she is a pharmacist, and I think that is something members should dwell on.

One thing I did not like was the scare tactic and some over-the-top comments by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Stanhope, in terms of Belconnen being completely smothered in clouds of lead. For his benefit, a couple of members of this house live very close to the tip. My colleague Mr Berry, who has just spoken, does not seem to be suffering any ill effects from any of this. In fact, my place is directly in the line of any winds that come from the tip, being part way up a hill. I have not heard any great concerns from a number of people in Belconnen in relation to this. Comments like those made by Mr Stanhope do not assist here because, in my opinion, they are way over the top.

I think the two amendments moved by Mr Kaine, who has now accepted Mr Rugendyke's amendment, are probably the sensible way to go because they ensure that any reasonable fears that people still may have can be allayed by further action which this Minister will take anyway as a matter of course. Instead of the censure motion by Ms Tucker, the motion will simply call on the Minister for Urban Services to provide a report to the Assembly by the first day of December on proposals to improve the environmental management procedures at the landfill and procedures for checking the acceptability of waste delivered to the site. I think that is a sensible response by the Assembly to this problem that has cropped up, rather than the very obvious political point-scoring exercise indulged in by the mover of the motion and the Labor Party.

MS TUCKER (12.32), in reply: I would like to respond to a number of issues that have been raised in this debate. One thing I would like to get from Mr Smyth is his agreement to table the minutes of that meeting regarding the OH&S committee. Could I get a nod? Yes. Thank you. Mr Smyth has acknowledged that request and has said that he will table those minutes. I need to clarify that because the information we have been given is that that meeting occurred on 6 September, which was after in fact the time when the union decided to take action themselves and get the testing done. The union also has not seen the minutes of that meeting. I think it would be useful for the union to see those minutes and see whether it is in agreement with what the minutes say occurred at that meeting. The clear message that we have got from the union consistently is that it took action because it could not get an appropriate response to their concerns from waste management. That, obviously, is a very critical issue.

Turning to the substance of this motion, we have the issue of misleading the community. As Mr Stanhope correctly pointed out, you only have to look at the title of this media release to see what the aim of it was. It says, "One load of metal car waste being tested at Belconnen Tip". Basically, whether it was because the Minister was ill-informed or because there was an attempt to put a spin on the truth, the fact is that that was misrepresenting the situation. I seek leave to table this media release.

Leave granted.

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