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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2224 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I congratulate ACT No Waste, the people of Chifley and the people of Canberra for embracing the bio-bin trial. I look forward to the further initiatives which ACT No Waste and the ACT government will be implementing to encourage people to reduce their waste so we can have no waste by the year 2010. I commend the motion.

MRS DUNNE (10.52): Mr Speaker, I rise in support of Ms MacDonald's motion. It is good to see that, on the day after the budget, we are getting down to, and dirty on, the big issues. Whilst I support the thrust of the motion, I think it is an unfortunate waste of the Assembly's time, when we should be focusing on issues in relation to the budget.

I also take note of the warm commendation for ACT Waste contained in Ms MacDonald's speech. It is a testament to the bold and innovative approach of the previous government, which has a proud history of instituting the policy of no net waste to landfill by 2010. I am glad to see that this is endorsed so warmly by Ms MacDonald.

Now that we have seen the end of the Chifley trial of the bio-bins, it seems this innovation is not going to continue. In many ways, I am regretful of that, but I know there were problems with the trial, with high levels of contamination of non-biodegradable materials towards the end of the trial. I gather it started off well, but people became lax as the trial went on. That makes the whole process of sorting and recycling more expensive. You end up putting a lot of it into landfill anyhow, because it is contaminated.

It is a shame that the trial is not going to proceed. That means there is going to be a considerable call on ACT Waste to come up with an innovative way of encouraging the process of recycling and sorting at source.

We are looking at a new generation of technology in relation to recycling and separating the components but, at the same time, we need to encourage each resident to take an active part in ensuring the ongoing success of the policy of aiming at no net waste to landfill by 2010. In doing that, we must encourage people to do the three Rs-reduce, re-use and recycle. That will help to find ways of getting as much stuff out of the waste stream as possible.

I know there has been a bevy of garbage and recycling management people through the Assembly, touting their wares to a number of members, and to anyone who cared to listen about innovations and different ways of handling recycling. Some of those are very high tech and very gee-whiz.

My principal concern about many of the proposals put forward is that it takes the responsibility away from the householder and the business to separate their waste in particular ways. When you do not think about that, you become undiscriminating and end up putting more things out for landfill because you have abdicated the responsibility to somebody who will sort it out further downstream.

Although we may move our technology to something which is more high tech than we currently have, I hope we can continue to see a system where members of the public are engaged and actively participate in the process of recycling, and reducing their waste stream at the very outset.

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