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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1968 ..

You may recall, Mr Assistant Speaker, that in June 2020 the federal government committed $190 million to a new recycling modernisation fund to transform our waste and recycling industry, create more than 10,000 jobs and divert over 10 million tonnes of waste from landfill to make new, useful products. The Recycling Modernisation Fund also includes the national product stewardship scheme that Ms Clay referenced in her motion today. PV systems, solar panel systems and electrical and electronic products are listed on the minister’s priority list for 2021-22 under the national product stewardship scheme.

The federal government is leading the nation in this space, and I hope Ms Clay’s motion today motivates this Labor-Greens government to actually start playing its part when it comes to recycling these new household and solar technologies. I thank Ms Clay once again for bringing this matter before the Assembly, as we did two years ago.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (3.32): I thank Ms Clay for bringing this important issue to the Assembly. I am delighted to highlight the work that is underway both in the ACT and nationally, and has been for several years. That is why we did not support Ms Lawder’s motion previously, because there is ongoing work amongst officials and environment ministers on product stewardship matters, emerging waste streams, including electrical appliances, solar photovoltaic panels and inverters, and large batteries used to power electric vehicles, buildings and grids.

When it comes to waste reduction and recycling, ACT residents are among Australia’s best. We have a very ambitious and comprehensive response. Where we can avoid waste, we do so, but when it comes to recycling, we have a goal, which is quite ambitious, of 90 per cent waste diverted from landfill.

Most recently, we have begun to accept bookings from all Canberra suburbs for the free bulky waste collection service, which is helping to divert tonnes of material from landfill by giving furniture and other goods a new home. In this term our government will also take another big step towards this goal by introducing a garden organics collection scheme for all Canberra households in 2023, diverting approximately a third of the products that find their way into the average person’s household red bin.

We will also deliver the bans on the sale and distribution of harmful single-use plastics. The first tranche will commence next week, from 1 July. These are key commitments that we made to the Canberra community, and they are important items within the parliamentary and governing agreement, which is why we are cracking on with delivering them. The items in the parliamentary and governing agreement are the priorities and the commitments we have made to the public, which we are focused on delivering.

Of course, work can and does progress in other ways. The ACT is working with the commonwealth, and all other states and territories, to deliver commitments under the National Waste Policy Action Plan, including actions to address new and problematic waste streams.

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