Page 3375 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

newspaper or butchers paper or brown paper bags tied with string, wrapped by the greengrocer or grocer. Every house had a rainwater tank, although there was reticulated water in those days. I am not talking about the dark ages here. The bread and milk were delivered. In the town where I lived the grocer came to the house weekly and took a list from my mother and two days later delivered those groceries.

People did not buy so much food that they could never eat it all and then have to throw it away. Not so long ago there was a time when it was not more expensive to fix an appliance than buy a new one. How many people these days buy a new fridge, a CD player or a washing machine when something goes wrong? Somehow bulk department store and factory outlet purchasing has made it cheaper to buy a whole new thing rather than to pay a person real labour costs to put a new widget in.

We wonder how and why we are producing so much waste. By the way, the government is not an innocent bystander here. As I said when the EpiCentre debacle came to the notice of the Auditor-General and this Assembly, we do not need more shopping outlets. This is the last thing we need. We need it like we need a sixth toe.

The commissioner’s recommendations need to be taken seriously and acted upon sooner rather than later. Minister, I want to see your response to the commissioner’s recommendations and I want to see your election promises. I am not here to get kudos. I am here to make sure that real action gets taken on waste in this town. The Greens are used to having their proposals ignored but then taken up by government later. It is gratifying to see them as recommendations from the Commissioner for the Environment.

There are other strategies for waste reduction which need to be addressed. I would like to see the ACT government move towards encouraging extended producer responsibility. As a jurisdiction with very few producers, this is not easy, but the introduction of container deposit legislation, which I have tabled and which will no doubt be discussed in the next Assembly, is a firm step in this direction. In the old days when we did have container deposit legislation and much needed pocket money was available to children, the streets were kept clean by children picking up rubbish. Imagine that today!

The raft of measures in the motion that we are debating here today and which is of such interest to every member of the Assembly would vastly improve waste management systems and the reduction of waste. Let us have a look at some of the details of my proposal.

The motion calls on the government to adopt a whole-of-life cycle approach to procurement policies. I was pleased that Mr Smyth mentioned this yesterday in relation to cars. It is really good that Assembly members are thinking like that. I hope they think like that when they go shopping. A life cycle analysis involves a cradle to grave view of the energy and greenhouse use and impacts of the product and service—from the extraction and transport of raw materials to the manufacture, packaging, freight, usage and, finally, the disposal of that object. At the moment there is no room in ACT government procurement policies or guidelines to allow for such thinking.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .