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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3846 ..

This reflects the very high level of support provided during the consultation, which shows that the ACT community is eager for government to take further action to reduce plastic waste in Canberra. We are currently considering the detailed responses and the impact of phasing out certain products like plastic straws, particularly on vulnerable cohorts in the community, including people with a disability.

As well, further consideration is being given to some products where there are not yet clear alternatives. We will continue to work with businesses and other stakeholder groups as we take the next steps, but it is pleasing to see the appetite of the Canberra community to take strong action in phasing out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics.

MR GUPTA: Minister, how is the ACT government continuing to lead the nation in phasing out single-use plastics?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Gupta for his supplementary. The ACT government is continuing to lead the nation on a range of environmental issues from climate change right through to phasing out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics. Our initial consultation on the discussion paper has concluded and we look forward to announcing the next steps in identifying products to phase out and working with the community and business to facilitate this.

To be fair, we are not the first jurisdiction to take action in relation to phasing out single-use plastics. South Australia was the first. We shortly followed, releasing our own discussion paper, and now Western Australia has also started consultation on phasing out single-use plastics.

Following their consultation, the South Australian government have now announced that they will ban plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers. They will also look at, over 12 months, banning expanded polystyrene cups and takeaway containers, as well as oxo-degradable plastic, with legislation to ban the single-use items to be introduced next year to the South Australian parliament.

Mr Coe has described this approach as “unworkable” and “idealistic”, once again showing how incredibly conservative and out of touch with our progressive community, and the rest of the country, the Canberra Liberals are on so many issues.

Phasing out unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics is a responsible approach to managing waste and our environment. Once we have fully considered the feedback provided by the community and business, I look forward, as the South Australian Liberal minister has done, to outlining the next steps in phasing out single-use plastics in the ACT.

Canberra Hospital—emergency waiting times

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, why were fewer than 30 per cent of patients who urgently needed treatment seen on time in the fourth quarter of the 2018-19 financial year?

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