Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1062 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
a good thing. I believe that the only question that any of us would have in our mind about that is whether a scheme of this kind would have the potential to do that.
I know that Ms Tucker has argued that the report of an organisation in Sydney says that a scheme of this kind is feasible for Australia. I would set those recommendations against the background of earlier work on such a proposal, at least in the context of the ACT, including work by earlier committees of this place, that suggested that it may not be feasible. I would like to believe that such a scheme would work. Therefore, I am open-minded about the concept and supportive of it.
The question is whether it is possible to demonstrate that it is feasible now and whether it is possible to produce a direction to government, or at least an urging to government, in this motion that it take that view, on behalf of this Assembly, to the next meeting of the relevant ministerial council, the National Environment Protection Council, and have that argument pushed there in that context. My colleague Mrs Dunne will amplify that position, but the question is one of feasibility, of how we, as members of a relatively small community, and the rest of Australia can contribute to a process whereby such legislation is made to operate feasibly, to the advantage of the environment as a whole and within sustainable economic parameters.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.08): I wish to speak to this motion on behalf of Mr Wood, the environment minister, who is unable to be here this afternoon due to commitments with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission.
The government has noted with interest the recent report on container deposit legislation prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures for the New South Wales Minister for the Environment, Mr Debus. Container deposit legislation describes legislation that establishes a deposit and refund system for used containers, such as drink bottles and cans. The report found for New South Wales-I emphasise that this finding applies only to New South Wales-that the potential environmental and economic benefits of introducing container deposit legislation exceed the costs.
The report also identified some impediments to the introduction of container deposit legislation. For example, the report notes that container deposit legislation is supported by local government, which currently carries the cost of recycling, but is opposed by industry, to which the cost of recycling effectively would be transferred. I should add that the government does not, as a matter of principle, believe that the transfer of costs to industry is necessarily a problem for recycling schemes in general.
The government has received advice that there have been some legal problems relating to the mutual recognition guidelines under the national competition policy. That is an issue the government believes needs to be further investigated to try to achieve a national approach. South Australia, the only jurisdiction to have container deposit legislation, has had to argue strongly for an exemption from the mutual recognition guidelines.
The ACT government recognise the need to research and consider all options that lead to increased and continued waste reduction, both to help achieve the ACT's 2010 waste targets and to contribute towards sustainable development within the ACT. The ACT's unique position of combining both local and territory government functions meant that