Page 1478 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Waste Minimisation (Container Recovery) Amendment Bill 2008

Dr Foskey, pursuant to notice, presented this bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.16): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am very pleased today to introduce the Waste Minimisation (Container Recover) Amendment Bill 2008. This bill seeks to amend the Waste Minimisation Act 2001. The Greens have been introducing similar legislation to this throughout Australia. The reason for this flurry of activity is that the voluntary schemes are not working and governments around Australia are not responding to the problem with sufficient urgency.

I have borrowed heavily from my colleagues’ work in this area and I would like to acknowledge them now. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the work of my colleague Ian Cohen in New South Wales, who recently introduced a container deposit bill there. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Boomerang Alliance, which has been a huge help in the development of this bill and in assisting others around the country. The Boomerang Alliance has a main focus on the nationwide adoption of extended producer responsibility, policies and practices to ensure that eventually all discarded products and packaging are either reused or recycled.

I have deliberately tried in this bill to mirror the proposed New South Wales scheme in order to achieve uniformity with our much larger neighbouring jurisdiction. It is self-evident that any ACT scheme should operate in tandem with New South Wales. However, I stress that this is not essential and my bill would, if passed, create a scheme that could operate on its own. South Australia has been doing it on its own for decades and we should have been doing it for decades as well.

The national packaging covenant is a voluntary industry-based scheme which is being relied upon by governments around Australia to remove our abysmal container recycling rates from the political radar. This tactic is looking increasingly threadbare as evidence mounts to show that the national packaging covenant is revealing itself as an abject failure. With no real progress on achieving voluntary waste reduction targets, the push for governments to pick up the ball again and introduce container deposit legislation should gain momentum. Ideally, this would be as part of an overall waste reduction and emission reduction strategy, but in the absence of such a beast we should introduce a container deposit scheme as a stand-alone measure.

This bill affords the opportunity for the ACT to take proactive steps towards increasing beverage container recycling. The realisation of the need for positive action

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