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Recycling Bins at Charnwood Group Centre

I seek leave to make a brief statement in relation to the petition that I have presented.


Madam Speaker, I have presented a petition signed by 207 Canberra residents calling on this Assembly to urge the ACT Government to provide a recycling bin, or even better, recycling bins at the Charnwood Group Centre.

There are currently nine public rubbish bins provided to users of this shopping centre, yet there are currently no public recycling options at the Charnwood shops. This is not an oversight, however. The ACT Government acknowledged in March this year that there are no recycling options at any local shops, and no plans to provide any in the future.

This approach does not line up very well with the words that we so often hear from this government and those opposite. The current ACT Waste Management Strategy, for example, clearly states that, quote, ‘The ACT Government will … establish public place recycling’.

The goal, as this Assembly was reminded by Minister Fitzharris only three months ago, is ‘a target of 90 per cent of waste being diverted from landfill by 2025’. The resource recovery rate in the ACT has, however, been stalled at 70 per cent for the last decade, according to the minister. Lack of public recycling facilities may well be one of the reasons why.

ACT Labor, according to its party platform, claims to support ‘a comprehensive waste minimisation policy for all public places … in the ACT’. This should include, quote, ‘the provision of recycling facilities for glass, plastic, paper and metals’.

The petition that I have tabled this morning shows that over 200 Canberra residents from the West Belconnen area agree with these sentiments and want to remind this government to live up to its clear commitment to provide recycling facilities in public places.

Madam Speaker, the Charnwood Group Centre is a busy suburban shopping precinct. It includes, amongst others, a supermarket, a chemist, a newsagency, a dry cleaner, a hairdresser, a dentist, a medical centre, a veterinary, a fitness centre, a martial arts school, a bottle shop, a café, two variety shops, and several restaurants and takeaways. It also includes a branch of the Labor Club with its restaurant and bar. This is a buzzing shopping centre.

On a recent Saturday, I observed hundreds of Canberra families and other residents patronising these many establishments. Many of them looked around in vain for a bin where they could place recyclable items. As I mentioned already, they had a choice of no less than nine rubbish bins but not a single receptacle in which to dispose of their recyclables. Instead, they were forced to put paper, plastics, aluminium cans and glass bottles into the rubbish, which means that it all ended up, needlessly, in landfill. This government can stop this happening by simply providing recycling bins.

The good residents of West Belconnen are not asking for much in this petition. They want to be able to do their part to help the territory reach its goal of reducing waste to landfill, and especially when they know that this waste can easily be recycled. They want their current government to provide the very basic facilities that people expect to find in well-maintained public places – something so basic, yet it enables people to choose the right and care for our environment.

Madam Speaker, on behalf of these residents, I commend this petition, with its 207 signatures, to the Assembly.

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