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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3763 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

161,000 tonnes of commercial waste and privately delivered waste, only about 16,000 tonnes is not easily recyclable through current recycling services. The rest is made of easily recyclable material, such as paper and cardboard, food and kitchen waste, garden and timber waste, clean fill, concrete and bricks, metal, glass and plastic.

In order to divert more of this waste to recycling and reprocessing alternatives, education programs will need to be expanded further to ensure that the whole community has access to the knowledge of how best to manage their wastes; what alternatives are available; and how to use them appropriately.

Mr Deputy Speaker, future no waste initiatives will need to focus on establishing suitable reprocessing services for commercial organic wastes and building wastes as a priority. An equally important aspect of the no waste strategy is the need to grow markets for recycled and reprocessed material. The development and promotion of these markets facilitate the commercial establishment of alternatives to landfill disposal and allow us to recover the true value of resources.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we have all made an excellent start to the strategy. However, we have been making the easy gains by targeting the large volume and relatively easy to recycle materials. A lot of material is still ending up as waste in landfill because disposal remains underpriced.

I would like to share with the Assembly a few facts and figures about pricing, but I will be brief as I have raised this here before. Members would be aware that this year's budget-I would say, in the presence of the Treasurer, that it is an excellent budget-included an announcement of an increase in tip fees. The tip fee increases are actually part of the strategy to encourage people to recycle where possible, rather than just dump all their refuse at the tip.

While some people might say that an increase in tip fees does not benefit them, if you look at the comparison of tip fees here in Canberra to tip fees in a place like Sydney or Melbourne, we are much cheaper and affordable. For example, tip fees here in Canberra were $33 per tonne, and they will be going up to $44 per tonne. To make a comparison, the tip fee at a place like Chullora in Sydney is $93.60 per tonne; Lucas Heights is $76.90; Wollongong is $51.20; and Newcastle is $65. Similarly in Victoria, Bairnsdale Council has the same rate as Canberra of $44 per tonne, and Manningham Council has $60 per tonne-yet again, more than we have.

There are initiatives, too. A government information pack has been prepared which will encourage people to look at sorting out what they are dumping. We are aiming that information mainly at commercial operators.

To address the problem of underpricing, a waste pricing strategy has been developed that will steadily move the territory towards a user-pays system for waste disposal. The first of the pricing increases, some of which I have previously mentioned under this strategy, was introduced on 1 August this year. We need to do more to establish alternatives that are commercially viable, and use differential pricing to encourage the use of alternatives. Further development of the waste pricing strategy is essential to ensure that the disposal charges are set at levels that provide incentives to reuse and recycle.

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