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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1973 ..


Lithium-ion batteries that are used in electric vehicles and home energy storage do not last as long as solar panels—around 10 years, on average. As Ms Clay noted, there are some innovative companies working in this space. As one example, Relectrify in Melbourne is collecting end-of-life electric vehicle batteries and repurposing them for home energy storage, which potentially doubles the life span of the battery. Home energy storage is becoming popular in Canberra and in time we will see a larger number of batteries entering the waste stream. It is vital that the ACT is prepared for this. It is unsatisfactory that products like solar panels and inverters could end up in landfill. Fortunately, the materials in batteries are valuable, so recycling is generally cost effective. Producing solar panels, batteries and inverters takes valuable natural resources. By introducing a nationally coordinated approach to recycling, we can make the best use of these resources and avoid environmental contamination from illegal dumping or disposal to landfill.

It has been great to hear from Minister Steel about the work that has been happening on national product stewardship. I support his and Ms Clay’s view that a national product stewardship scheme should continue to be developed and, if this does not eventuate, that recycling drop-off points should be readily available in the ACT for dropping off these products for recycling and transporting to the nearest facility. I look forward to supporting the work of Minister Steel through the environment ministers’ meeting to progress these issues. There are a number of ways to fund the costs associated with recycling schemes, as Ms Clay notes. Product stewardship schemes for other types of products, including a recycling fee on the upfront cost of the product, has been a successful approach. I support Ms Clay’s motion.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (3.49), in reply: It was great to hear support from across the Assembly for such a simple and sensible motion. I think it goes to show that recycling is one of those issues that cuts across political divides. It cuts across all members of the community. Survey after survey shows that 98 per cent of Australians believe in recycling and participate in recycling, and are very positive about it. I am really glad to see that we are now at a point where the industry has matured and things have moved along. We have seen a lot of progress at the national level, and we are probably ready to go ahead and start setting up really good options and time lines to get some really sensible product stewardship.

It was great to hear an update from Minister Vassarotti and Minister Steel today as well, and I will be pleased to hear more in February, when we get the really detailed analysis of this. TCCS has a lot of expertise in this field, and there are lots of options that we might want to look at when we are developing this. Before the product stewardship scheme commenced formally around the country, we ran a community recycling day for TVs and computers and that took in 400 tonnes. That is probably an option we could look at if things are still a bit of a long way off, but it may well be that by February we can get a really clear time line and options, and we know that we will be ready to go ahead. I am very excited about what will happen when we get that, because we are going to see a lot of jobs around the country and probably in our region, as well. Recycling is a good jobs maker, and it is a great way to make sure that we continue with the excellent community buy-in we have for all these new technologies. These technologies are helping us out of one problem; we need to make


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