About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007
Smoke & Mirrors
The good people of Mildura here in Victoria had a bit of a win last Wednesday.

The State Government has been searching high and low for a new site for a toxic waste dump to replace the one at Lyndhurst. Nowingi, just out of Mildura in the states north west was short listed as the new site and it appeared to be a fait accompli that trucks would soon be roaring up the highway to deposit their poisonous cargo in huge new pits there. Our State Government was so confident that it would go ahead that they vowed in an election promise to accept the recommendations of an independent panel set up to examine the proposal to set up the new site.

However, even though the Government had had the report since last mid-December, which basically said it wasn't a good idea to site it at Nowingi, it planned up until last Friday to approve the project, when in a meeting someone raised the point that a former minister had made a promise to accept the findings during the last election campaign. In a country where we have core and non core election promises, depending on which way the wind is blowing and the inclination of the newly elected Government, our State Government decided that this was a core promise and should be honoured. So with Lyndhurst filling rapidly, what could the Government do with all the toxic waste?

How about make some of it disappear, let’s say a minimum of thirty percent, maybe more. That’s exactly what the Government has done. With a pen no less. Harry Potter would be so proud.

In the same way that President George Bush is committing more troops to Iraq by calling it a ‘surge’, some of what was formerly toxic waste has been reclassified as non-toxic. You could just imagine the conversation between the minister and his public servant about this one.

M. “Oh dear, what are we going to do now? We have to put the waste somewhere.”

PS. “There just might be somewhere we could put it minister, with no trouble at all.”

M. “And where might that be, the moon?

PS. “Not quite that far away sir, we could put it in one of our regular tips.”

M. “Are you out of your mind man, it’s toxic waste, we can’t do that!”

PS. “But what if it wasn’t toxic waste?”

M. “What on earth do you mean?”

PS. “What if it wasn’t called toxic waste anymore, just plain old regular waste that can go to any tip.”

M. “And just how do we do that?”

PS. “Reclassify it, all you have to do is sign this document and say thirty percent will be taken care of, that’s what we’ll tell the press. Of course if it all goes well there is no reason more can’t be taken care of in the same way.”

M. “It sounds like a great plan, but toxic waste is toxic waste, the public will never buy it.”

PS. “Don’t worry sir, we’ll tell the public that it’s low grade waste from the food industry that is currently classified as toxic, no one will be frightened about that, we should be able to slip a few other things through as well.”

M. “Toxic food waste, what exactly is toxic food waste?”

PS. “I could tell you minister, but then you would no longer have plausible deniability, just never mention toxic and food waste in the same sentence, okay.”

M. “Okay, where do I sign? I’m putting your name forward for a promotion.”

PS “Thank you minister, but working for you is its own reward.”

And that is exactly what has happened. As part of the State Government’s new hazardous waste strategy, a minimum of thirty percent of what is currently classified as toxic waste has been declassified and the only word on what constitutes this waste is that it’s from the food industry.

There is something troubling about this…that the food industry is producing toxic waste and apparently quite a lot of it. What exactly is toxic food waste? Do we need to grow our own food or just stop eating? I’d search for answers, but I suspect none will be forthcoming.
  posted at 9:23 am

At 5:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toxic food waste - what a concept. (would that be mold or mildew) Don't you really have to admire somebody who can think "just declassify 30%" just call it something else. Such creativity...
You have such a wonderful imagination to create such a conversation between the two. You are too funny.

At 1:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a brilliant read, Neil, as always! I'm sorry, i never thought the contents of my fridge would cause so much trouble *grin

At 8:14 am, Blogger Reb said...

It's a wonder they don't re-classify it as red cordial and sell it children to drink. Maybe I should have been a political adviser?

At 9:43 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, maybe it is mould and mildew, but I don't think so!

Hi shell, mine either. I'm wondering about the wisom of composting now.

Hi reb, I think they already do, ever seen kids after a drink? lol.

At 12:26 am, Blogger Jeanne said...

Toxic food waste? Well, it's the contents of the McDonalds bins, isn't it??!

Seriously though - great post - that conversation reads like something out of Little Britain. Scary scary piece of news. Let's hope the UK government doesn't get wind of this - they'll think it's the best idea since sliced bread...

At 11:47 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi jeanne, I was using Yes, Minister as my template, it was an outrageously funny show. Good ideas travel, watch out!


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