Due for Senate debate this week, the Government's Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill has now been delayed until at least November. This allows more time for stakeholder and community input, as well as constructive cross-party negotiations on amendments to improve a once-in-a-generation opportunity for legislative reform that builds a circular economy and protects our oceans.
Greens spokesperson for waste and recycling, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said, “Last year our Prime Minister said that his daughter had urged him to do something to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution in our oceans. He addressed the United Nations in New York, promising Australian leadership on this most critical of marine pollution issues.
“The Government’s long-awaited legislation to fix the waste crisis, though, does not include any measures for reducing or recycling plastic packaging.
“The Greens are working constructively across party lines to fix this and have circulated a series of amendments to ban single-use plastics and legislate producer responsibility for packaging within the new product stewardship framework.
“These measures are broadly supported by key recycling industry groups, local government associations and NGOs.
“You can’t rely on voluntary, industry-led approaches to reducing plastics and increasing recycling rates. They have consistently failed in the past and the current bill does nothing to fix this.
"The waste ban in the bill will also not achieve its desired purpose of forcing Australia to build a circular economy if the confidence to invest in infrastructure, innovation and jobs is missing.
“A proper plan needs to provide business certainty for increased investment and jobs.
"This won’t happen when key recycling industry stakeholders are not on board with the Government's proposed packaging industry-led approach.
“The Greens' proposed measures are the obvious way forward and we are optimistic that the Government will listen to waste industry stakeholders before it brings its legislation back in November.
"The Greens won’t let this become a wasted opportunity to protect our oceans and build green jobs.”