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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4769 ..

MR STANHOPE: Well, I think we have all noticed it. It is probably about time that somebody said that there is a source of poison in this place and it is Mrs Dunne. It needs to be said; we all know it. I think we are all just a little tired of the constant personal, nasty attacks that are just part and parcel of every commentary she makes. That is my view of that; that is my view of the objectivity and the worth of this motion.

This work has been done. It has been done in a rigorous way. Departmental officers have been heavily involved in every aspect of it. We work cooperatively with every other jurisdiction. I might say that the Liberal Commonwealth minister led us essentially to the result that was achieved as a result of the Liberal federal government's refusal to contemplate a levy. That was a starting point in relation to where we might go from there, in the face of an absolute refusal by the Liberal Commonwealth minister to contemplate a levy.

We then had to look for other possibilities and other opportunities, and that is what we did. We have achieved this cooperative outcome, this cooperative result, with a hard and fast promise that the number of plastic bags in Australia will be reduced by 31/2 billion in the next two years, with a promise by all ministers that, if it is not met, then we will legislate. And that is the position for the Commonwealth, too, as well as the states.

There was a real willingness amongst the states to support a levy but, of course, the constitutional power in relation to that is vested essentially with the Commonwealth. A levy is considered to be a tax, and states and territories are prevented from imposing taxes. So, Mr Speaker, to better reflect the exceedingly good work that has been done, I have drafted and circulated an amendment. I move:

Omit all words after "acknowledges that plastic bag use needs to be reduced and plastic bag recycling needs to be enhanced in the ACT", substitute:

"(2) notes that the ACT Government has agreed with the Commonwealth to work with other States and Territories, and the Australian Retailers Association to achieve:

(a) a community goal of cutting bag litter by 75% by 2005;

(b) a reduction in the use of lightweight single use plastic bags of 50% by the end of 2005;

(c) an increase in the recycling of these bags by between 15 and 30% by the end of 2005;

(d) the phasing out of lightweight plastic bags within 5 years;

(e) an appropriate Australian standard for degradable bags;

(f) a national campaign to reduce plastic bag litter and encourage retailers to get behind the Retailers Code of Practice for the Management of Plastic Shopping Bags to ensure the national bag reductions and recycling targets are met;

(g) the introduction by retailers of a transparent and independent auditing process to measure bag use, recycling and litter levels, which will also regularly

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