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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5818 ..

not and will not be the approach of this government in relation to this legislation or any other legislation that the first response is the issuing of an infringement notice or a prosecution in the courts.

The Office of Regulatory Services aims to achieve compliance with laws wherever this is possible rather than opting for confrontation and prosecution. This approach is supported by the South Australian example. Obviously, though, if retailers do not comply, if they wilfully ignore or seek to disobey the law, then the issue of an infringement notice or a decision to prosecute will have to be considered.

As other speakers have noted in the debate, the provision of the penalties is, of course, a maximum penalty provision. It is not a mandatory penalty. It is not an on-the-spot fine. Mr Seselja, as Mr Rattenbury quite appropriately notes, should understand this concept better than most in this place. The fact that he either wilfully chooses to ignore his understanding of how these types of penalties operate or perhaps more disturbingly seeks to deliberately misrepresent it for his own political objectives is more a commentary on him than it is on the provisions in this bill.

Finally, Mr Speaker, it is worth highlighting that the penalty regime that has been established is consistent with the equivalent penalty regimes for causing environmental harm under the ACT Environment Protection Act 1997, in which a maximum of 50 penalty units applies, equivalent to $110 per unit for an individual and $550 per unit for a corporation. Of course, Mr Seselja seeks to characterise the maximum penalty provision against a corporation as a fine potentially liable for an individual. Again, he does himself no service in this place by making such a wilfully and deliberately misleading characterisation.

Mr Seselja: A point of order, Mr Speaker—

MR CORBELL: I withdraw the suggestion, Mr Speaker. The legislation is an important step forward. It provides for a move to a more sustainable community. By reducing the use of single lightweight plastic shopping bags in our community, we encourage consumers and store operators to provide more sustainable alternatives, alternatives that reduce waste to landfill. Again, I draw to members’ attention the real and meaningful impact of this legislation in South Australia—400 million fewer shopping bags to landfill as a result of the ban and a significant change in behaviour with nine out of 10 consumers reporting that they have changed their behaviour and now adopt more sustainable practices.

The ban we are putting in place mirrors the South Australian approach. It is a ban which is recognised as workable, effective and getting the results we need to help reduce waste in our society. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

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