NOTICE OF MOTION, ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING COMMITTEE

I am pleased to speak on this motion moved by Dr Ratnam and the amendment moved by Mr Finn. It is obviously important that we address this issue, and I can see no better way of doing it than through the Environment and Planning Committee. I hope it still exists; but anyway, we look forward to it inquiring into this matter and reporting back urgently.

The state government is sitting on about half a billion dollars in the Sustainability Fund, which the Environment Protection Authority Victoria seems to access. This money has been collected from ratepayers through a garbage levy. The Corangamite shire, in which I was previously a councillor, contributes approximately $1 million to this fund a year. I am not sure what the good members of the Corangamite shire get out of this fund, but I do know that it has been used for solar panels on trams and an IT system, I think. Again, we seem to mostly focus on matters inside the tram tracks here rather than what happens outside the tram tracks, especially over the West Gate.

But waste should not be seen, in my view, as a problem but rather an opportunity. I do not think we need to reinvent the wheel on this. There are waste-to-energy projects around the world that seem to be working reasonably well. I understand that Sweden these days has to import waste to process energy. How good is that in reality? In my Western Victoria Region electorate there are three very enterprising businesses that have joined together with Barwon Water to turn waste to energy. It may have a way to go in being wildly successful, but at least it is a beginning, and that is important.

We certainly need the Environment and Planning Committee to inquire into, consider and provide an urgent interim report, as the committee deems necessary, on the current circumstances in municipal and industrial recycling and waste management. That is critical, and I am fully in support of Mr Finn’s amendment to Dr Ratnam’s motion. We have to get the recycling and the waste problem sorted. It is not just a matter for local councils; it is a matter for each and every one of us, and it is certainly a matter for government. We can do this better and we can do it right. We can all benefit, and the community and the environment can be better off at the same time. So it is my pleasure to support the amendment moved by Mr Finn to the motion moved by Dr Ratnam.