Page 3385 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008
that are quite dangerous for the operators. But it is doing a very good job. The operator responded quickly to safety operations when we found that glass fragments were being spread about the place from the glass compacting machine. The operator of the MURF went in there and looked after those people who were working on the belt.
Waste management is one of the key strategic areas for creating a sustainable city and it is closely linked and aligned to our sustainability policies. It is fundamental to the first guiding principle of the ACT climate change strategy—being smarter in our use of resources. The government remains committed to progressing sustainable waste management programs in the ACT that help to build on the success that we have achieved to date. We are very pleased to receive the State of the environment report and we will deal with the issues it raises and provide a response to the Assembly in good time.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.38): Mr Speaker, I want to respond to some of the minister’s concerns. We have an amendment here. There is nothing noxious about this amendment. I do not think I will put it in the hazardous waste basket. It is just de rigueur that in this place the government amends a motion. I will definitely say that I moved a very large motion; I certainly did not expect the government to agree to it all. I thought the government would agree to the recommendations put by the commissioner for the environment. In fact, I thought that was a bit of a no-brainer. I thought that it would be looking at making an announcement prior to the election. However, we did not get that announcement today.
There is no doubt that the people of Canberra want to see an advance towards the no waste target. I was interested to hear Mr Gentleman call it an aspirational target. I do not believe that “no waste by 2010” was aspirational when it was set. It has become aspirational in the last couple of years. Once the government realised it was not going to reach it, we call it aspirational. I think those things really need to be noted.
The minister also said, regarding hazardous waste and toxic waste: “What do we want to do? Where are we going to get the money from?” Do you realise that at the moment we have only two Environment Protection Authority officers—two people? I would love to hear that I am wrong on that, but I am pretty sure my information is right. If we added one more EPA officer, we would increase the number by 50 per cent. That might be all we need to really police hazardous and toxic waste in this place. I think that, if it is about the health of people and our waterways, it is worth it.
I am concerned that I have not even heard from the minister a desire or an expression of interest to advance our progress. He did not have to say what it was; he just had to say that he believed in it. He is the minister for waste, for goodness sake. He could have talked about some of the things that are on the drawing board.
Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Dr Foskey said, “He is the minister for waste.” There is no such position.
DR FOSKEY: Thanks for that; I needed that correction.
Mr Hargreaves: I’m just being helpful.