Page 4545 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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a consequence of its going into the sewerage system. It is not just discharged in the river; it is used as fertiliser. So it is not as though we are not recycling that waste.

In the light of all these facts, the government believed and still believes that it is unwise to allow the ban proposed originally by Mrs Dunne to continue. It was the result of a misguided policy-on-the-run proposal, which was seen to be doing something in the lead-up to the election. But it is a bad policy. It denies people the opportunity to still recycle their waste, albeit in a different way.

The government has adopted other water-saving initiatives, which will result in more sustainable building practices and which will achieve the objectives that the opposition sought to achieve through Mrs Dunne’s bill last year. Through the think water, act water strategy, the government has introduced effective, as opposed to ineffective, ways to reduce household water consumption and facilitate the reuse of grey water and the use of rainwater in new residences. These initiatives include requiring pipes to be built into new homes, to make it cheaper and simpler to connect a rainwater tank supply and connect grey water take-off systems to homes. These are now mandatory in all new dwellings in the ACT. These alterations would normally incur a substantial cost if homeowners were required to install them in finished homes.

These initiatives also allow the use of rainwater to flush toilets and for use in washing machines. They also allow the use of shower water for plant irrigation. These are genuine initiatives that reduce water consumption in those parts of the home where it is the highest. The opposition’s ban on in-sink disposal is a simplistic measure that does nothing in practice.

The government has put in place and continues to put in place effective methods to reduce water usage and seriously address the water consumption issues our community faces. But this ban is meaningless, tokenistic and does not work. It does not work because the water consumption is minimal. Just remember those facts: 150 megalitres a year would be the increase in water consumption if 50 per cent of homes had these units. Only six per cent of homes have these units and that is less than one per cent of total water consumption every year. Secondly, any waste that is put through these units is recycled as a consequence of our tertiary treatment plant at Molonglo, where solid waste is converted into fertiliser and recycled. Those are the reasons why the government will not support this motion.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.14): The intention of this motion is to reverse the action of the Water and Sewage Amendment Regulation 2005 (No 1) which allows in-sink garbage disposal units to be installed in new dwellings. In supporting this regulation, the government considered further information on the environmental aspects of these units and the consistency of the then ban with the government’s sustainability and environmental policies.

There are several environmental aspects of these units that I would like to address, the first of which is water efficiency and the water these units consume. One of the intentions of the original legislation banning the installation of these units was to save

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