Container Deposite Legislation long overdue: Greens

Greens MP Jamie Parker spoke in Parliament supporting a 10,000-strong petition for the introduction of a container deposit scheme in NSW to increase recycling rates.

Watch Jamie's speech here or read the trascript below.

Mr JAMIE PARKER (Balmain) [4.29 p.m.], by leave: The member for Murray-Darling is right and so too are The Nationals on this issue. It is about time the Liberals and remaining Government members realised that The Nationals and the member for Murray-Darling are correct.

ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr John Barilaro): Order! The member will be heard in silence.

Mr JAMIE PARKER: The Government will fail to meet its municipal waste recycling target of 66 per cent by 2014 as it has currently reached only 44 per cent. The only way the Government will meet its target is to support The Nationals and the member for Murray-Darling. South Australia has had a container deposit scheme in place for 30 years and achieves recycling rates of more than 80 per cent. The Northern Territory has just introduced a scheme. Internationally, these deposit refund schemes are the most effective mechanism for achieving high container recovery rates. Container deposit schemes exist in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Israel and 11 States in the United States of America. On average, the recycling target is 80 per cent and sometimes as high as 95 per cent.

New South Wales does not have a container deposit legislation scheme because Labor buckled under pressure from the beverage industry. In 1995 the Carr Government went to the election promising to introduce a container deposit levy, but a beverage council coalition called the Industry Environment Council knocked it off. A call for papers in the upper House by The Greens revealed a 2000 report commissioned by the Carr Government, which stated that the industry did not want to hear that the 10¢ refundable deposit on bottles and other containers would create 1,500 jobs and ease Sydney's landfill problems. Of course, that was supported by local government, which has emphatically supported container deposit scheme legislation. The State Government can introduce the scheme now but, of course, it should lobby its Federal colleagues at every opportunity to make sure it gets done.

Introducing the container deposit scheme can be done at local level. In the upper House The Greens have given notice of introducing a bill and in this House Clover Moore, the member for Sydney, has given notice of the identical bill. The Government could get the bill passed tomorrow. The Greens would vote with the Government in the upper House, and the lower House would get the bill passed. The impact of not having such a scheme is clearly visible. People driving from South Australia know when they have entered New South Wales: the sparkle can be seen along the highway from the bottles, cans and plastic. The Government should listen to the member for Murray-Darling. Obtaining 10,000 names on a petition in his electorate is a huge achievement. I acknowledge the work of the member for Murray-Darling, who is a champion for his local community fighting for these issues. It is good for the State, for local government and for jobs. The Government should adopt it.

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