Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5280 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
government's response. I hope that, sooner or later, we will see leadership and some outcomes in this matter.
The No Waste 2010 program continues to fall behind its original targets. We are not seeing the resources allocated to new and diverse measures to reduce and re-use our waste. At current rates of waste reduction, we will not reach the goal of zero waste to landfill by 2010. The setting of the environmental targets is a crucial element to the environmental activities of government as they allow us to compare intentions with achievements. When these targets are not reached, it reduces community confidence in the ability of governments to keep promises.
No Waste 2010 is an impressive target which has the support of all sides of politics. However, this political consensus and long-term approach to environmental management will be undermined if we do not meet this target. I urge the government to move forward to meet the No Waste 2010 target. Technology has met the challenge across Australia of no waste by 2010. We have discussed many ideas at length in the Assembly that could be quite readily be implemented in the territory if the political will were there. There have also been promises by the ACT government to implement triple bottom line reporting. Again, this issue has frequently been raised in the Assembly through discussions. There has been little evidence of progress towards establishing indicators and targets by which to assess the environmental bottom line.
The latest contribution to environmental reporting is an issues paper entitled "Reporting on progress towards sustainability in the ACT". This report is a bad indictment on the government in terms of community consultation. There are a number of unhelpful questions in the report. One question is: "Do you agree that the report should be written in a style that is accessible to a broad cross-section of the Canberra community?"Of course the answer is going to be yes. Does the government seriously think that anybody would disagree with the statement? Is the government expecting people to call for a confusing and inaccessible document by which we can judge sustainability standards? There are other similar questions in the report.
Sustainability reporting needs to have goals, indicators and targets. The issues paper contains few concrete proposals and a number of self-evident questions. This is just a delaying tactic rather than genuine community discussion. We should not be using community consultation as a delaying tactic but as a growing tactic to bring the community together, get some good ideas and move forward together in partnership. We should not be asking the community questions such as: "Have you read this report?"Members of the community operate at a higher level than the government gives them credit.
Another environmental issue is water. The government should be focusing more on water recycling. Initiatives like water-conserving showerheads are commendable, but the focus should be on not only changing large-scale water consumption behaviours but also updating the water infrastructure to enable greater re-use of water. Closed loop water recycling is now being implemented in a number of international cities and our water re-use data is well below international best practice. That issue has not been addressed in the government's recent draft water strategy. I was extremely concerned to learn that, until I brought the issue to the attention of the government, Environment ACT was continuing to issue licences to pump unlimited free groundwater using bores. This