Page 3378 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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The heavy-handedness that Dr Foskey accuses me of is a little hard to stomach when it was I who invited Revolve’s CEO into my office to try and work out a way forward. Did I receive such a request from Revolve? No, I did not. Did my office ask the CEO to come in so that we could work our way forward? Yes, we did. Did I present three options for them to go forward? Yes, I did. Did they think that these options might be acceptable? No, they did not. They prefer, in fact, to squat on that land and continue to rack up a debt in unpaid rent.

Let me tell you, Mr Assistant Speaker, that my preparedness to discuss matters with Revolve has its limits. I am fed up to the eye teeth with people saying we are being heavy-handed when we have complied with the legislation and I have invited these people into my office to discuss it. I do not care what people may tell Mr Pratt. Mr Pratt comes into this place and perpetrates all manner of mistruths from time to time. He passes them on. He himself is an honest man; I am quite happy to say that.

The trouble is that he does not know truth from fiction half the time. He comes in here and merely parrots the fiction that he hears. The matter of Revolve will resolve itself. However, I thank Dr Foskey for her motion calling on the ACT government to implement the recommendation relating to waste contained in the recent report on the state of the environment, and I welcome the opportunity to talk on the issue.

As you are aware, Mr Assistant Speaker, the ACT was the first jurisdiction in the world to set a no waste goal in 1996. On this point I need to pay credit to the former government because they set it. If it was an aspirational target that we are both stuck with, that would be fine. But it was an aspiration that we both picked up and we both embraced. Members have never heard me bag the previous government for that particular goal. I have no difficulty in saying that we have worked hard towards the achievement of that goal in the same way that the previous government would have done had they been returned to office. But the fact was that it was set in 1996. We have been the only mob to have to do it; it was down to these guys.

When they released that strategy, the year 2010 was a long way off and at that time no-one was really sure whether it was technically feasible to reach no waste. But the challenge was taken up and the progressive implementation of the no waste strategy has resulted in the ACT now recycling around three-quarters of total waste generation, which is an excellent result. It is one that the ACT community should be proud of.

A few examples would help put the ACT community’s effort into some perspective. Since 1994, the resource recovery rate has increased by 315 per cent from 136,570 tonnes to 566,633 tonnes. That is huge. The waste going to landfill has reduced by 27 per cent. Rates of 75 per cent resource recovery have been achieved and 62 per cent of the total waste stream—that is nearly five million tonnes out of 7.85 million tonnes—is diverted from landfill for further use.

It is clear that no matter how successful we are with recycling there will always be some materials, such as asbestos, that we cannot reuse or recycle. I have said this before. It will need to be disposed of. Therefore, it is not technically possible to entirely eliminate landfill.

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