Page 516 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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decisions. But it is an important accountability in the system that they have the ability to do that.

Environment—single-use plastics

MS ORR: My question is the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, how is the ACT government helping to cut down on harmful single-use plastics at major community and public events?

MR STEEL: I thank Ms Orr for her question and certainly, understand her interest in single-use plastics in the ACT. Of course, following the first tranche of the single-use plastic ban which came into force last year, we have seen a range of single-use plastics already phased out in the ACT. That has been well accepted by the community and it has been on the basis of very significant engagement with the National Retail Association to support business through that transition. Of course, many businesses are doing the right thing. And this is important because it is about making sure that we support our environment, take everyday action on climate change. Many businesses have been doing that and the community has been supporting them.

In addition to the general phase out across the community, last year I also declared several public events plastic-free here in Canberra. And the declaration ensures that in addition to the products that we have already banned, these declared events will be prohibited from supplying plastic straws, takeaway containers and single-use plastic plates and bowls. So event operators and businesses providing services within an event footprint need to replace these with sustainable alternatives.

Most recently, we saw Canberrans and stall holders embrace our plastic-free Royal Canberra Show, which was the first official declared plastic-free event, and then there have been others, with community events like Canberra Day, Enlighten Festival. And we are looking forward to working together to make events across the ACT as sustainable as possible into the future as well, with the National Folk Festival taking place this Easter to follow on from the Royal Canberra Show’s success. It is clear from their experience that plastic-free events were not a show-stopper but a show-starter!

MS ORR: Minister, how does the government work with event promoters and businesses to identify and promote plastic-free events?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for her supplementary. The ACT government works proactively with business, industry and suppliers, and event promoters to identify which events could be declared plastic-free. Like the broader Canberra community, most businesses in the ACT have welcomed the opportunity to reduce waste by switching to sustainable alternatives as part of taking everyday action to support the environment.

We established the plastic reduction taskforce as part of our consultation process in the lead up to our first bans on single-use plastics taking effect, and this group is made up of key industry stakeholders, businesses and government officials. We have been

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