Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 August 2008) . . Page.. 3384 ..
would have been better if she had sharpened her attack rather than using the broad brush that is evident in this motion.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.33): I thank Dr Foskey for her motion calling on the ACT government to implement the recent State of the environment report recommendations relating to waste. I welcome the opportunity to talk on this issue. It is important to note that the State of the environment report is developed under the requirements of the Commissioner for the Environment Act 1993. Under this legislation, the commissioner is required to produce a report and the minister must, within six months after the day of receiving a State of the environment report, present to the Legislative Assembly, firstly, a statement that sets out the response of the government to that report or, secondly, a statement that sets out the reasons for not presenting a statement under paragraph (a) to the Assembly. The Chief Minister received the ACT State of the Environment Report 2007-08 on 4 July. The report covers the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2007. Under the legislation the government has until 3 January 2009 to provide its response.
The State of the environment report is very comprehensive and a number of areas within government agencies are currently reviewing the State of the environment report. It will take some time before the government will be in a position to respond in a considered and meaningful way to the commissioner’s recommendations. I have a lot of respect for the report and the commissioner, so we would not want to rush into making a hasty response to the recommendations without thoroughly considering the best way to move forward on the report’s recommendations generally, and on waste matters in particular.
However, I would like to make some comments about waste management in the ACT. We have been very successful in our approach to the management of waste. The ACT was the first jurisdiction in Australia, as we have heard, to set the aspirational target to achieve a waste-free community when the “no waste by 2010—waste management strategy for Canberra” was developed and released way back in 1996. The strategy recognised that, if government, industry and community worked cooperatively, we could achieve sustainable waste outcomes. The ACT has been achieving the highest level of resource recovery in Australia of any jurisdiction, and our community should be commended for their efforts to date.
I would like to commend the operations of the materials resource recovery area out at Hume. The minister talked about that a little earlier—the MURF. I have been involved with that MURF for many years. In fact, I was a member of the ACT No Waste Committee, along with Geoff Pryor and members of the ACT government in the waste area. We saw the operations of the MURF from its instigation. It is a fantastic operation. The recovery rate for resources is extremely high in the ACT. Of course, it has created a business.
One of the most important aspects of the operation of the MURF is that it is very labour intensive, so we see a lot of people employed successfully at the MURF by the operator. I was involved in their last enterprise bargaining agreement before I was elected to the Assembly, and I am very pleased that they are receiving the right sort of remuneration for the work they do. Of course, there are some safety issues at the MURF. They regularly find articles in the recycling bins that should not be there and