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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3713 ..

I recently moved a motion in this Assembly calling on the government to investigate further opportunities to reduce single-use plastic throughout the ACT. I am glad that we have been given the opportunity today to further discuss why this is so important.

I look forward to hearing the outcomes of this investigation, following on from my motion, and I am glad to hear of the support from members for the government’s efforts to reduce single-use plastic in the ACT. I hope to see this support continue as we progress towards the elimination of single-use plastic as a long-term goal for the ACT.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.09): I rise today to say a few words on this matter of public importance. In recent weeks I have spoken up on behalf of constituents in my electorate of Ginninderra who are concerned about the lack of public recycling options in the ACT and specifically at shopping centres that are maintained by this government. My clear sense is that people inherently want to do the right thing. They therefore find it frustrating when something as straightforward as a public recycling bin is nowhere to be found and, from what I have been told by the minister, is not even on this government’s agenda.

These and other constituents have also spoken to me on the issue of single-use plastics. By definition, this includes any plastic that is intended to be used only once before being discarded, including rigid plastics that can easily be recycled when proper facilities are available. It also includes plastics such as shopping bags and chip packets that are not recyclable at all.

These constituents share concerns about the growing stockpiles of recyclable plastics and the environmental harm that can come from genuinely single-use plastics. They support prudent and reasonable efforts to reduce the amounts of these plastics that enter our water system and water stream.

I note that environment ministers from all states and territories as well as the commonwealth government have taken recent steps forward in addressing these issues in unity, and I hope that genuinely good solutions will be proposed and implemented.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (4.11): I thank Ms Le Couteur for raising this very important topic. Our reliance on single-use plastic is having devastating impacts on our planet: on our oceans, through plastic pollution and through sea life consuming plastics and getting plastics wrapped around them; from litter that we see at the terrestrial level, and we have all witnessed that; and from the link between plastics and climate change, which was the subject of a seminar at the Global Climate Action Summit just a few days ago, where that exact linkage was being explored.

We all share responsibility to act where we can to reduce impacts on our environment, and we must find viable alternatives that provide better outcomes for the planet than some of the plastics that are currently being used. Every little piece of avoided waste can and does make a real difference.

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