Page 4770 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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as yet unknown. Most species are still not investigated. The trunks of mature felled trees do provide habitat and do not present a fire risk.

Mr Seselja was quite critical of ACTION buses. We have to realise that, while petrol prices increase, we will see more patronage of ACTION. It is absolutely important that we stand by our public transport system and do whatever we can to make it more frequent and extend its times of service so that people have a real alternative to driving. I have to say that I have seen a number of buses going past with bikes in the racks on the front. That is clearly a successful measure by the government.

In terms of waste management, it is very disappointing to see that the ACT government has no plans to implement a green garden waste collection scheme for residential organic waste. I expect that we do not mean just garden waste; we mean all organic waste. I heard an interview on radio this morning or yesterday—sometime very recently—with a German minister or official saying that 100 per cent of their green waste is now being handled and collected. I would really like to see more commitment to this.

I note that the ANU Green proposal is mentioned in the report. This is still an area which I believe the government could explore. You will note that there are no recycling facilities at all for businesses in Civic. They should be demanding them.

Finally, recommendation 9 states:

The ACT Office for Women should increase public awareness about the ACT Women’s Register.

That is a small measure. I am aware that the ACT Office for Women is doing work on that. The point is made that the ACT government, when inviting organisations to nominate persons to committees, wants them to suggest women amongst their nominations.

Those things are good. I acknowledge Mr Seselja’s dissenting report. That is probably the only way it could be dealt with because of the fact that his views were different to those of the majority of the committee. At least we have them there. On the whole, it is a really good report. I hope that the backbenchers in the Labor Party will push those issues with the government, especially affordable housing and the Commissioner for the Environment’s funding.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.15), in reply: In closing, I will respond to some of Mr Seselja’s dissenting comments. As I have already mentioned today, Mr Seselja seemed to work with the committee and made suggestions that the committee took on board, but I cannot agree with many of his comments.

He said that the report is couched in overly friendly language which simply takes the government line on an issue or echoes what, in particular, is in an agency’s annual report. That is false. One out of 11 of the recommendations commends the government. There are 10 recommendations for improvement. One recommendation is in support of the government improvements. Is Mr Seselja saying that the committee should only be critical of agencies and that we should not stand up and congratulate them for the good work they do?

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