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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3157 ..

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, what Mr Hargreaves is referring to is the temporary recycling estate at the West Belconnen tip. It was established last year, but at that stage ACT Waste did not have ownership of the site. So, in lieu of issuing long-term leases, we started by issuing a one-year lease at a peppercorn rent of $1. The next clause in the leases says that should the leases be renewed they will be renewed at full commercial licensing rates. This has now occurred. ACT Waste has gained control of the site and is now in the position to offer long-term leases. We will offer those at full commercial rates, and tenants must now choose whether or not they are in a position to continue their work there or move to other sites.

ACTION and ACT Government Fleets

MS TUCKER: My question also is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, in early 1998, your department commissioned an evaluation of the conversion of ACTION bus and ACT government fleets to natural gas. This report was to review earlier trials of natural gas vehicles and to evaluate options for the conversion of the ACTION fleet and other government fleet vehicles to natural gas, including financial options. This evaluation was funded by a grant of $50,000 from the ACT Energy Research and Development Trust. The study was supposed to have been finished in mid-1998, but we have heard nothing about this report. Could you please advise whether this report has been completed, and, if so, can you table a copy? If not, why has it been delayed?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I am well aware of the report. We look at options of reducing anything that produces greenhouse gases, and whether or not bus fleets, truck fleets and other vehicles around the country should move from diesel to forms of natural gas is, of course, a very important component. The report was commissioned to see whether it was viable or not for ACTION to do that. I have had several meetings with a company that proposes that they have the ability to convert buses from diesel to natural gas. You would be interested to know that the President of Hungary had a ride on one of the ACTION buses. The people of Budapest are also looking at doing the same thing.

Unfortunately, the discussions have been held up because of the changes to the tax system which have an effect on the price of diesel. The figures needed to be reworked in that case. At the same time, there has been an accelerated program that will see our refineries changing the nature of the diesel that they produce. During the catalytic process you can produce fuel with different chemical components. The fuels that we currently get from our refineries have high levels of sulphur, in particular, which causes the large black clouds that you see coming from our heavy vehicles. Under the new standards, I think the BP refinery in Perth have said that they can bring forward diesel - - -

Ms Tucker: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order on relevance. I am asking about a particular report, not about diesel.

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