Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2009) . . Page.. 633 ..
We are still actively pursuing and are committed to a no waste strategy. We have, over the last 10 years, made significant gains in the ACT. In 1996, 22 per cent of ACT waste—I think it was 22 per cent—was recycled. Today, on our latest assessment, we believe in the order of 73 per cent or 74 per cent of waste is recycled. That is 75 per cent or 74 per cent of around 76,000 tonnes of waste that is produced in the ACT annually. As I say, I think it is around three-quarters but I think it is 73 per cent of all waste that is currently recycled. Ninety per cent, we believe, of green waste is recycled.
In any discussion on waste, waste disposal and recycling, it is relevant for that discussion to be informed by an acknowledgement that these are the best rates or levels of recycling in the country, by a country mile. There is no room for complacency; we accept that. But it should be acknowledged that we have made, as a community, very significant gains in relation to recycling. This last 25 per cent is the most difficult. It also goes without saying that it is the most expensive. The next 25 per cent, in terms of its achievement, is the really hard end of the equation and the very expensive end of the equation. We have a number of initiatives which we are currently assessing—initiatives that were the subject of the question which Ms Hunter asked.
I have also today done media on scoping work that we are doing in relation to bulk waste. It is a service that we believe that there is very strong support within the community for but it does have some implications in relation to recycling, of course. One of the downsides to bulk waste collections or a bulk waste collection service is the capacity for us then, in relation to the bulk waste that is collected from residents, to ensure that it is appropriately recycled. It is one of the real issues that we will have to deal with in relation to that.
We have a number of initiatives that we are pursuing in order to take the next step in relation to an incremental move to a no waste policy. At this stage, there will be—and I am more than happy to talk about these in greater detail—a number of waste initiatives put to the cabinet, and I have no doubt we will be discussing these with you, in terms of prioritisation.
In the context of our own budget position, we cannot do everything that we would like. I am sure everybody is aware that we do not have a capacity in this first budget in this cycle to pursue all the initiatives that we would have liked and that we, even just six months ago, had proposed or intended to pursue. But we would prioritise those next steps in relation to recycling. It is our determination to take that next step, the move from 73 per cent progressively to no waste.
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
MS LE COUTEUR: Can the minister tell the Assembly what kind of consultation the government is undertaking with the public on the future of the NOWaste by 2010 strategy?
MR STANHOPE: It is not an issue, I have to say, other than through the election campaign, which is, of course, a consultation process of itself, or at least an