Page 2165 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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MS PORTER: I have a supplementary question. Can the minister inform the Assembly as to the views expressed on this initiative in the community?

MR HARGREAVES: I am happy to report that this initiative of the government has been welcomed by charity groups across Canberra and the community at large. I was joined by Anglicare, the Smith Family, the Salvation Army and others at the launch of the campaign, where they expressed their support for the crackdown. Jim Hazelhurst from the Salvation Army also spoke to the media, following my announcement of the success of the campaign, outlining the extreme reduction in dumping that has occurred as a result of this initiative.

I thought everyone was in agreement that our charities should not bear the burden of having to remove this junk from around their bins and that this continuing crackdown is a positive thing. However, there seems to be a variety of views from the other side of the chamber. There seems to be a consistency in inconsistency.

Mr Quinlan: Not another inconsistency. Oh, no!

Mr Smyth: What, on Totalcare!

MR SPEAKER: Order! Both sides of the house will come to order. Mr Hargreaves has the floor.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt, despite calling on the government, through a media release in April, to do “more than just talk” when it comes to cracking down on illegal dumping and stating that the opposition had concerns about “illegal dumping, littering and how detrimental it is for the ACT’s appearance,” said in a media release dated 7 June that the crackdown on illegal dumping around charity bins is “another clear case of the government’s misdirected priorities,” despite welcoming the campaign I launched in May.

Mr Speaker, that is staggering inconsistency on the part of the man who presents himself as the alternative Minister for Urban Services. He is a man who sees charity bin dumping as “a relatively minor problem”. Illegal dumping costs some charities up to $50,000 a year, money that they could be using to support the needy and the disadvantaged in our community.

Mr Speaker, on this occasion it seems that Mr Pratt has contradicted not only himself but also his colleagues. Hullo, here we go again! In a media release dated 12 January this year, Mr Pratt’s colleague Mrs Jacqui Burke issued a media release expressing “dismay and a growing concern” at the level of dumping in and around clothing bins. She called on me to consider “imposing stiffer fines in the ACT for people who are caught dumping rubbish in this manner, as it is not only costly but it is also a health and safety issue for volunteer workers”. Mrs Burke is not so dismissive of the plight of our charities.

The opposition is obviously divided on this issue, despite the fact that charity organisations have welcomed the government’s actions and reported a serious drop in the level of dumping. The community at large, as well as charity organisations involved in working with the government on this campaign, have welcomed these results and the

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