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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3709 ..


that we can influence our own procurement policies to build demand for recycled plastic products, including bollards, benches and even asphalt.

While the ACT will always look for opportunities to show leadership on social and environmental issues, we also prioritise the need to work with our state and national counterparts to drive an ambitious, harmonised national approach. That is why we have been supporting the development of an update to the 2009 national waste policy, which is currently open for public review and submissions.

We are pleased that the discussion paper prioritises a shift towards a circular economy mindset and contains a number of proposed targets, including to identify and phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2030 and to increase the level of recycled content in all goods and infrastructure procurement.

Along with other states and territories, the ACT is working hard to explore potential solutions for achieving such targets. This level of ambition will help Australia to keep pace with the global shift, particularly the EU and its plastics strategy, part of its broader action plan on the circular economy.

Single-use plastic is a symptom of a linear economy. Shifting to a more circular system will not happen overnight, but the ACT government is committed to driving this change locally. We may be small in terms of population but we can use our voice and our actions to influence the national debate.

Knowledge about what is happening with waste is critical to the development of appropriate policies, processes and strategies to reduce waste in the first place. The new waste management regulatory framework that is being implemented currently by the government through the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act 2016 is aimed at collecting data on waste, so that going forward we have a clear understanding of what happens to our waste and deal with materials such as single-use plastic appropriately.

I welcome today’s opportunity to speak on the importance of reducing single-use plastic in the ACT and to outline the actions the ACT government is undertaking towards achieving this reduction.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (3.58): While speaking on Ms Le Couteur’s MPI on the need to reduce single-use plastic in the ACT, I am reminded of the motion brought by Ms Orr in the last sitting week. Given her success at getting the Chief Minister to start using reusable coffee cups, I wonder whether she has had any similar success in convincing the Minister for Transport to reduce plastic on the tramway.

Part of what makes plastic useful is also what makes it disruptive. It is long-lasting and does not break down easily under light or exposure to water. It is lightweight, can be transparent and is also cheap and can be treated as disposable. This leads to plastics being used readily, discarded, and carried easily by the wind and rain run-off into the natural environment, where it can end up entangling or suffocating animals. As such, it is important that everyone works together to reduce waste.


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