Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 963 ..
MR STEEL: I thank Dr Paterson for her supplementary. We have been undertaking face-to-face engagement with Canberra’s businesses across 19 main food and retail hubs. We have partnered with the National Retail Association, the NRA, to deliver tailored education on what the bans will mean for businesses and how to transition. That has been well received by businesses thus far. Most of them understand that the legislation is in place and that they need to make this transition. Many understood many months and years ago when we started this journey. Of course, this is happening right around the country—interstate as well.
It is excellent to see so many businesses already making the switch or in the process of doing so. We have known from the start of this process that many businesses are very supportive of taking this approach to supporting the environment by banning these plastic products, but they wanted the government to make sure that there is an even regulatory playing field. That is what we are doing.
The ACT is unique in that it is the first jurisdiction to prepare a regulation impact statement on the products to be banned, undertaking a thorough analysis of alternatives available for businesses. What we have found through that process is that many of the sustainable products are actually cheaper than the plastic that people were using. That is why many businesses have already made the switch. But many other businesses will benefit. That is the case with the expanded polystyrene packaging and stirrers. For other products, it will be slightly more expensive, but it will be up to businesses to engage with their packaging suppliers and make sure that they get a supply of sustainable goods.
Of course, we want to also reduce the need to use some of those items. That will be a conversation with consumers. We also hope to engage with consumers as part of this process, at the point of sale, so that they are supporting businesses that are making the switch in July.
MS CLAY: Minister, will all replacements for our single-use plastics be recycled in our kerbside recycling bins?
MR STEEL: I thank the member for her question. It is really case by case. It depends on the alternatives. The variety of alternatives have been explored through the regulation impact statement and will continue to be explored. We want the business sector and the packaging industry to innovate and create new alternatives that are not currently available and better alternatives that can be recycled through our materials recovery facilities and, through them, go on to be remanufactured and turned into other products.
For example, if we are making clear what the alternatives are in the marketing material that is part of the education campaign with businesses, for the single-use cutlery there are single-use alternatives that are made out of bamboo and there are alternatives made out of wood.
But it is not just about substitution. Ultimately, the waste hierarchy has as its first principle to try and avoid the need to use these products. Part of the education with