Page 2367 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.14): I am pleased to speak to the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2016 which repeals and replaces the Waste Minimisation Act 2001. It is a bill for an act to provide for the minimisation of waste, for recovery, recycling and reuse of resources, and for other purposes. The bill introduces a new regulatory framework for regulating the activities of waste management businesses in the ACT. Some of the elements that the bill introduces include requiring the director-general to appoint a waste manager, introducing a licensing system for waste facilities and introducing a registration system for waste transporters. The bill introduces regulatory, investigation and enforcement powers including data collection; powers to issue directions; entry, search and seizure powers; and penalties for offences.

The ACT waste feasibility study was established in mid-2015 to investigate how best to reduce waste generation, maximise resource recovery, minimise littering and illegal dumping and achieve a carbon-neutral waste sector. I had a briefing from Ms Fitzharris’s office which confirmed that consultation was conducted with a number of groups, including waste collectors and recycling operators, during the waste feasibility study and that their feedback was then used to inform drafting of the bill.

I note that the planning, environment and territory and municipal services committee did not receive submissions from stakeholders on the bill and therefore did not recommend any changes to the bill. For all of us it would have been better if the stakeholders had been able to provide feedback on the proposed legislation, for example if they had any concerns about how the proposed legislation would affect them. One can only presume that they were busy going about their everyday jobs and felt that they did not have the time to make a submission or that they felt that the bill adequately captured their feedback already. I certainly hope that the latter is the case. It is something that obviously needs to be watched in the future.

I would like to take a moment to reflect a little on the history of waste management in the ACT. Back in the 1990s we had the NoWaste by 2010 strategy which was aimed at helping the ACT to become a waste free society. That particular strategy stated:

Problems associated with the generation and disposal of waste are issues of increasing importance to the community. Energy and resources are being wasted while tips are filling quickly.

The ACT Government is committed to achieving sustainable practices for the management of our wastes.

This Waste Management Strategy for Canberra has been developed through an extensive community consultation process. The strategy sets the vision of how we can plan a waste free society by 2010 and outlines the future direction for waste management whereby we will be turning our wastes into resources.

We are the first Government anywhere to embrace such a bold target—of becoming a waste free society. This will be a most rewarding challenge for our community to adopt and I commend this strategy for its vision.

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