Page 2366 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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The bill provides a comprehensive model for regulating the waste industry in the territory. It has been drafted to avoid some of the complexity of legislation in other jurisdictions, particularly in light of the desire to minimise red tape. It has been developed following extensive industry and community consultation. All members of the waste industry and the broader community were invited to participate in this process. Overall, there has been good representation of large, medium and small industry members in reference groups and meetings and I think this has added to the quality of the legislation.

The bill actually repeals and replaces the Waste Minimisation Act 2001. The objects of the bill more closely align with the government’s waste management policy objectives and there is a clearer relationship with the objects of other related legislation, particularly the Environment Protection Act 1997. The regulatory framework established by the bill directly supports the achievement of the resource recovery objectives in the ACT waste management strategy 2011-2025. The strategy is the principal government policy statement outlining resource recovery aspirations and future directions.

The new regulatory framework established by the bill is intended to facilitate and reward good practice in waste collection, transport, recovery and reuse and to discourage the disposal of waste to landfill. With this aim, the bill includes: a clear strategic policy and operational framework so that the responsibilities of agencies in relation to environmental protection and operational aspects of waste management are easily understood; a robust, simple and inexpensive licensing system for waste facilities; and a registration system for waste transporters that sets clear pathways for low cost regulatory arrangements for people who do the right thing. The bill also includes offences and penalties that reflect the need to manage and guide behaviour in waste management by facilitating and rewarding legitimate operators while discouraging inappropriate practices and also includes clearly articulated regulatory, investigation and enforcement powers.

The legislation sets up a robust framework for waste minimisation. However, it is an area that will need ongoing monitoring and review. We will need to ensure that waste reduction targets are being met, that staff in key roles have the appropriate skills and that the ongoing resources are made available for effective education programs. It does create that framework but we certainly cannot just pass this bill and consider that the end of it. I know the directorate does not. I am sure the minister does not. We just need to be really clear that this is not the end of the road. We do need to get back to a place where we are studied, talked about and referred to as one of the leaders in this space. We have got a lot of work to do.

The study that is going on at the moment that identifies the many different waste streams should give us the information to enable us to really reposition ourselves as a leader in this field and minimise the amount of waste going to landfill and maximise the recovery of resources from those products that have been disposed of. I am happy to support the bill today.

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