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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 July 2019) . . Page.. 2526 ..


MS CHEYNE: Mr Parton, you just lowered the tone of the last hour, which has been particularly good.

Many people in this place have gone through or, indeed, are going through, a period of changing nappies. I can barely imagine what it must be like as a parent or a guardian or a carer, navigating the new world of caring for a baby. There are so many decisions to be made, not to mention the judgement that can sometimes follow these decisions.

The thing is that cloth nappies might not work for everyone or they might only work some of the time. But I think that it is important that Canberra families make informed decisions about what products they purchase for their child. And that includes what kinds of nappies.

The same goes for sanitary or incontinence products. Choices about these products are deeply personal ones. Providing people with greater access to information about the options that are available and how to use them, even though some people perhaps should know how to use them or did know how to use them, is crucial to making the decision-making process easier: easier for children and adolescents coming to grips with getting their period for the first time; easier for people who are familiar with the menstruation cycle but have never used environmentally friendly alternatives before and might have a bit of anxiety about it; and easier for those who are interested in using more sustainable products but might be feeling a little unsure of what to do or where to begin or simply what the cost and the benefit overall might be.

Using cloth nappies and sustainable sanitary and continence products is good for consumers and good for the environment. These products represent a good financial investment over the long run, eliminating the need to purchase pack upon pack of the disposable products. And these products represent a good environmental investment, reducing the millions of disposable nappies and sanitary products sent to landfill each year, products that can take hundreds of years to decompose. As Ms Le Couteur noted, the resources used in production of the disposable products are much more than what is needed to clean the sustainable products.

Some people find that sustainable alternatives are even more comfortable or better suited to their needs. Some people might simply find that they prefer using a mix of sustainable and disposable nappies or sanitary products or incontinence products. If a family replaces just one disposable nappy a day with a cloth alternative, that is 365 fewer disposable nappies going to landfill each year per family.

At the end of the day what works for one person may not work for another, for the range of reasons and circumstances and the whys that we have put on the table here today. Again, it is about that choice and encouraging people to do what they can, when they can. There are various measures this government can consider to encourage more Canberrans to use environmentally friendly alternatives which we have canvassed today.


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