Page 4726 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
course, I thank the ACT Greens for their support and note that this has been an issue that they have advocated for for a long period of time.
In particular, to respond to some of Mr Wall’s claims, I am disappointed that we did not have the opportunity to work with the opposition who now, by their vote, would see our environment worse off and community, charity and sporting groups not able to access a scheme that not only improves the environment and reduces litter but also provides them an opportunity to be extremely active in their community.
The opposition claimed that industry could keep unredeemed deposits. That is not the case. Scheme deposits are only charged to manufacturers on redeemed containers. Therefore, if the container is not redeemed, there is no deposit that can be retained.
My advice is that the New South Wales government are not offering loans to small businesses as a result of the container deposit scheme. I am also advised that Mr Wall’s claim that small manufacturers of containers will be required to disclose confidential sales figures is incorrect. The scheme coordinator will be bound by law to deal fairly with all scheme participants and manufacturers.
As I noted, there are significant regulatory requirements as part of this scheme. As the responsible minister, I can indeed instruct an audit to be undertaken of either the scheme coordinator or the network operator. Sales figures are, however, publicly available in many cases.
I think the opposition also claimed that there is no evidence that recycling rates increase. I have a couple of comments on the opposition’s view on this. I think we had a previous discussion about city services. I am certain that we have had discussion in this place on the importance of cleaning up litter. I put on the record now that the opposition have voted against reducing 25 per cent of our litter that is in the public realm. Twenty-five per cent of the litter that is at present in the public realm will now be collected through this container deposit scheme.
Their opposition to this scheme is really quite surprising, Madam Assistant Speaker. There is plentiful evidence from other jurisdictions on the increased recycling rates directly as a result of the CDS. There is anywhere in the range of 35 to 80 per cent of reduced litter in the public realm. International experience is similar and overwhelming, that these schemes have an impact on reducing litter. The next time the opposition claims that we are not doing our part, I certainly put them on notice today that they are not doing their part in supporting this scheme commencing in the ACT.
I note that Ms Lee spoke of product stewardship. It is very unclear to me now whether the opposition has a view on product stewardship, whether they have a view on industry taking some responsibility for the products that they manufacture. I think that is a widely supported principle by industry and by governments, Labor and Liberal, around the country.
If the Canberra Liberals now are saying that they do not support product stewardship—the most recent other one we introduced here was in relation to paint—