Page 2371 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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Waste management practices and technology have changed significantly in recent years. It is more than 14 years since the Waste Minimisation Act 2001 came into effect. The act is now outdated in its approach and it is inadequate to effectively regulate waste activity in the ACT. It is both the responsibility and the commitment of this government to review and innovate as each opportunity arises to ensure that waste generation falls and continues to fall and that more and more resources are recovered and re-used to protect the environment from the impact of our waste activity.

This is a bill to take waste management in the ACT into the future. It repeals and replaces the Waste Minimisation Act and it responds to the ACT’s need to improve its performance and meet community expectations about waste generation, recycling and resource recovery and the overall management of waste practices in the territory.

Through this new legislation, people in the waste management business will be brought within an effective but simple regulatory framework. It will provide for the provision and analysis of waste activity data to better inform future waste strategy and operations. It will provide for enforceable codes of practice which will provide strong guidance to commercial and domestic waste activity; in particular, stockpiling of waste can be properly managed. These codes will also provide an effective tool for managing health and amenity issues such as waste skips in public laneways.

While strong enforcement measures are available, other measures such as undertakings and directions will be used to guide and manage behaviour. And, over time, charging for waste activity will guide community attitudes towards the generation and disposal of waste. In particular, recycling and resource recovery will be encouraged while sending our waste to landfill will be strongly discouraged.

This legislation has been prepared in a way that allows flexibility in regulation, acknowledging the changing nature of technology, policy and practice in this area of administration. It is modern legislation that reflects not only the advances made in regulating waste in other jurisdictions but also the lessons learned in those jurisdictions.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I will take a moment to comment on members’ input. I note that the PETAMS committee inquiry into this legislation did not receive any submissions, but I think that is a reflection of the extensive community consultation that has been undertaken during the waste feasibility study and the fact that both the business reference group and the community reference group were involved in the drafting of this legislation and provided comments on early drafts as late as November and December last year. I think the lack of submissions to the inquiry reflected their extensive previous involvement in and satisfaction with what is a very extensive piece of work.

Let me address some of Mr Rattenbury’s and Ms Lawder’s questions. As I indicated, this is by no means the end of the waste feasibility study. This is just the first suite of recommendations made to the government and brought to this place about how we reform our waste management practices to increase resource recovery and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Many of the questions and further comments raised today will be addressed in the future by the government.

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