Page 38 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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Waste recycling

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. I noted today that a number of the recycling bins that had been put round Civic for the multicultural festival were being packed up after the weekend’s festivities. I have often been asked by Canberra businesses and individual constituents why there are not any waste recycling facilities in Civic, not just for people passing through but for the many businesses that are producing waste in Civic. Given that it has been a fairly straightforward process to set up recycling bins in town and that a cursory inspection of them by me—I did not look in all of them—seemed to indicate that they were well used, could the minister please advise the Assembly when ACT No Waste last looked at establishing a permanent waste recycling service in the city and what would be the cost of such a service?

MR HARGREAVES: I am pretty sure that I have answered such a question on four or five occasions before, but possibly not one from Dr Foskey, either because she was not in this place at the time or because she was asleep at the time. I cannot give Dr Foskey the exact date of the investigation, but it was not that long ago, in the context of the no waste program. We had conversations with businesses around the ACT and we talked about it in the context of the keep Australia beautiful campaign and the clean up Australia campaign and as part of the general thrust.

One of the issues for us is that businesses have to accept responsibility for recycling, the same as householders do. Householders actually have bins supplied as part of their rates, as you well know, Dr Foskey. We provided the recycling bins in the context of the National Multicultural Festival because the infrastructure for that was predominantly funded by the ACT government. We know with regard to Civic and its precincts and the town centres that putting on another collection service would be a particularly expensive exercise. When we floated this issue with businesses through their peak bodies and individually, they were not prepared to cop the increase in rates that would have to go with that.

What we would rather like to see, and we have been having conversations with them, is businesses accepting responsibility for the recycling of the packaging that they use. Some of them are doing that. Most of them are not doing it to the level that we would want them to do it. We have, in fact, instituted no waste awards in recognition of businesses that do this sort of stuff. I do not accept that this total recycling thing is a government responsibility. Keeping this town clean, keeping this town beautiful, is not the government’s responsibility in toto. It is not our job to wander around the place picking up after lazy people.

Mr Pratt: You should be showing leadership in this area, setting an example and helping the community to clean up the place.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I am sorely tempted to respond. The issue with recycling is that it would cost a significant amount of money. I have answered a question on notice on that, Dr Foskey, but I will get for you the exact figure as at the last time it was checked. I hope that that will satisfy your query.

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