Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3706 ..
friendly destination. And at an individual level, reusing is a commonsense way of saving money.
What can we do? Every day, territorians are in fact doing their part. Every day I see people using keep cups, I see canvas shopping bags and I see reusable water bottles. The public do a lot, but they are let down by us. We need to regulate and legislate to ensure that single-use plastics are phased out. We need to prioritise health: the health of people and the health of our environment as a whole. We need to pay attention to the evidence and change. We need to commit to action.
We have done some small steps. We have taken plastic bags out of supermarkets, we have introduced a container deposit scheme, and we have a straws suck program. But we need to do more. Let us keep the ball rolling by expanding what we already have in place as well as introducing new initiatives.
As we know from the plastic bag scheme, while there may be initial reluctance to change, in time—and in quite quick time—the people of Canberra can learn to make changes which work for the environment and work for them. In the 2012 election, plastic bags were an issue; in 2016, they were not. We can learn; we have learned.
This is not a case of the Greens overreaching to appeal to a fringe minority. Look at the British conservative government. They have a long-term plan to phase out single-use plastics and are rolling out actions in areas such as producer responsibility for packaging waste; requiring retailers to charge customers for plastic bags; bans on plastic microbeads in products; and bans on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
In Australia, the New South Wales Greens have introduced laws aimed at phasing out all single-use plastic by 2023. Looking more mainstream, a meeting of environment ministers backed a plan for all packaging to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. The Senate recently had an inquiry which came to the same conclusion. I cannot quite remember the time frame for it.
This has become mainstream. This is not fringe. We have all watched at least some of War on Waste. We all know that we have to change in the interests of our environment and in the interests of human health. We need to see action here in Australia and here in the ACT. There is a lot that we can do in the ACT right now.
We need to look at the most effective methods of reducing our use of plastic. As I said recently, in response to Ms Orr’s motion in the last sitting period, for me personally, the Canberra Times is my biggest source of single-use plastic. I implore anyone at the Canberra Times who may be listening to this speech or who hear the Hansard broadcast to look at what the Canberra Times can do to deliver the printed paper without coating it in plastic, particularly as it is plastic which often seems to have little holes in it and lets the water in anyway. And then of course there is the Chronicle.
We need to ban plastic styrofoam takeaway food packaging. Another thing we can look at is cafes charging for single-use coffee cups. There are simple changes like this. Other simple changes include putting pressure on food vendors and supermarkets to