Page 863 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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There is a substantial opportunity to grow the number of products that are involved in product stewardship schemes right across the economy. I am quite concerned that things are not moving fast enough in relation to federal regulation of these schemes nationally. We do operate in a national market for many of these products, and it is important that a national approach is taken. For example, on batteries and solar PV systems, I am very concerned about the length of time that it has taken for those schemes to come on line. I am also very concerned that there are too many free riders in product stewardship schemes across the country—that is, companies that either make or sell these products but are not paying onto the schemes—and, therefore, we are not getting the full benefit of the product stewardship schemes and other extended producer responsibility schemes in Australia.

So I will continue to advocate, as I am sure our representative at the Environment Ministers Meeting, Rebecca Vassarotti, will continue to advocate, for greater expansion of these schemes.

Of course, as part of the circular economy strategy—the draft strategy that we have released for consultation—we have been having conversations about what role the ACT government can play to complement the schemes that are in place and hopefully encourage even more companies to participate in the existing scheme and, indeed, for new entrants to come into the market.

Sport and recreation—swimming pools

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the Minister for Sport. We have the regrettable situation where two pool managers out of five public pools in the ACT have broadcast their intention not to seek applications for continuance of contracts for four out of the five pools after June this year. Now the Stromlo contract has been advertised as well. Minister, why did this situation arise?

MS BERRY: This is called a contract change. When contracts change, the contract is put out for tender to seek expressions of interest for operators of public facilities, like our pools. At the same time, some of those pool contractors have decided that they want to finish their contracts earlier than expected. Now we have put out the expression of interest to seek out a tender for the operation of those public pools.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, to what extent did a significant rise in utility costs contribute to these decisions? And what other reasons were there?

MS BERRY: As I said, this was a contract change and we have put out an expression of interest to check on the availability of somebody who is interested in operating our pools in the ACT. In the meantime, those pools will continue to operate under the existing contractor.

Mr Parton: On a point of order, on relevance, the question was very specifically about the reasons that operators decided to cut out of their contracts early, and I am just not sure that the minister is being relevant to that.

MADAM SPEAKER: Minister, if you have information towards that area of the question, please—

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