MS PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (15:10:06):
I am delighted to rise to speak to Dr Cumming’s inaugural motion to this house. Congratulations on bringing this forward. It is an important motion, and I think it is great to speak about this alongside the recycling inquiry that is being undertaken. I think it adds some greater depth to the conversations that we are having and is also beautifully timed for World Environment Day.
So well done, Dr Cumming. You did that extremely well. This is an important motion. I am not going to go over what Dr Cumming and also the previous speakers have said about why we must do this and why it is absolutely imperative that we do this. I did just want to touch on a couple of businesses in my area.
While this motion talks largely about councils, what I have seen in my region are some businesses recycling and also councils enabling businesses to recycle their food waste.
Degraves Street in the Melbourne CBD is an excellent example of this. The City of Melbourne worked very well with, I think it is, about 25 or 30 businesses down on Degraves Street, and all of their food waste is now composted onsite. Sometimes when I am walking to work through Carlton Gardens, I will see these steaming piles of compost—steaming brown piles of compost—feeding the garden beds of Carlton Gardens, as well as Fitzroy Gardens. It is a real delight to see my coffee and my leftover egg and bacon roll going back into those gardens and doing what it should do and that we are doing what we can with it.
I have a lot of breweries in my region. I am very proud to say that Northern Metropolitan Region has more microbreweries than any other region in Victoria. I have attempted to visit them all—not in one day, but I am working my way through them.
On one day I had the great delight of visiting Hawkers Beer up in Reservoir and Temple Brewing over in Brunswick East. Both of them collect all of their waste—all of the hops waste and all of the waste from making the beer—and send it out to local farms. For any vegetarians here, I apologise now—Ms Shing, please close your ears to this bit. Temple Brewing does this delightful thing. They send all of their hops waste to feed cows, and then they buy those cows back and we eat them at Temple Brewing for lunch. So it is this wonderful circle—you know, a really great circle.
Mr Finn: The circle of life.
Ms PATTEN: The circle of life, that is right. We drink down the beer that creates the food to feed the next lot of cows that bring us back to eating the steak that we drink the beer with that then feeds the cows. We are seeing some businesses doing this, and I would like to see councils encourage businesses to do this.
But I do agree that we do need to bring local government into it. We need to stop this going into our waste. I am one of these people who do it. I am a great composter up at my farm, but I live in a very small place, and I do not have the ability to compost at home. Enabling my council to provide something for me would be good.
I did come across a Sustainability Victoria program called Love Food Hate Waste, which seems to be doing some really good work, again, with businesses—less with household waste, more with business waste. Obviously that is probably the larger source of food waste in our community. I hope this debate adds to the recycling inquiry.
I am sure local governments are putting in submissions too to the recycling inquiry. I hope that recycling inquiry really looks at ways to enable local government to do this, because it is a cost to the state, and this is a very important thing to do. So I am hoping that Minister Somyurek will work with Dr Cumming to see how this can best work.
With Dr Cumming’s experience and the experience of many members in local government, they obviously have been there on the ground and have seen what works and what does not work. No doubt we will see these conversations happening in the recycling inquiry that we are undertaking. I support this motion. I certainly look forward to seeing the ability for me to put my waste to better use.
Ms Shing: Waste not, want not.
Ms PATTEN: Yes. I do try to only buy what I need, but sometimes this house does keep you here—
Ms Shing: If only we could do the same with the verbiage in this chamber.
Ms PATTEN: And on that note, I commend this motion to the house.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Speech given 5/6/19