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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1969 ..

There is a need for national leadership and collective action on many of these issues. We cannot institute a product stewardship scheme without national action. That would be absolutely ridiculous, and we would be laughed at by other jurisdictions. So we do need to work nationally, and that is exactly why the federal government needs to be involved in helping states and territories to take leadership on these issues. And they have been, Mr Assistant Speaker. We are pleased to work with them, together with our state and territory colleagues, to try and tackle these emerging waste streams like e-waste.

At the local level we are continuing to deliver on our commitments made under the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011-25. The strategy has a focus on generating less waste and, as I mentioned, driving towards that 90 per cent resource recovery benchmark, together with the avoidance of waste in the first place.

I would now like to address the specific waste streams raised by Ms Clay in her motion. E-waste is defined as products that rely on electric currents or electromagnetic fields to function which have reached the end of their usable life. The major issue with e-waste items is that they contain a mixture of valuable materials along with hazardous components.

However, we know that, with careful consideration of product life cycles, some of these materials can be recovered and used again. Although e-waste represents a small proportion of the waste stream in the ACT, it is increasing in volume. The government is committed to addressing problematic e-waste as part of a coordinated, national approach. I am pleased to report that progress is already being made at the national level.

We participate in the national television and computer recycling scheme, which is a co-regulatory scheme administered by the commonwealth, because the commonwealth needs to be part of these schemes to make sure that they function appropriately. This particular scheme allows Canberrans to drop off their unwanted televisions and computers for free recycling.

As we consider other battery types, larger batteries like household batteries, those used to power electric vehicles, grids and larger buildings, and the issues that follow their collection, reuse and recycling, it is clear that this issue does demand a national response. One of the key actions under the National Waste Policy Action Plan, not the ACT plan, is a project being led by all governments to develop a common approach to restricting the disposal of priority products and materials in landfill, starting with lithium-ion batteries, e-waste and materials that are collected for the purpose of recycling, by 2021.

A critical element of a circular economy is to eliminate waste through design to make sure that products that are made are durable, able to be repaired and refurbished for reuse, and able to be disassembled. To that end, the ACT has been advocating; we have made a submission to the Productivity Commission’s Right to repair inquiry, highlighting matters for further consideration, including a lack of competition in repair markets, a lack of certainty for consumers about reparability and costs, and proliferation of e-waste.

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