Thursday, 16 August 2007
Product Stewardship (Oil) Amendment Bill 2007
The Product Stewardship (Oil) Amendment Bill 2007 will amend the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000, which is designed to ensure the environmentally sustainable management, recycling and re-use of Australia’s used oil. Most of the amendments in the bill implement recommendations of the 2004 review of the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000. These amendments concern the constitution and operation of the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council, which advises me on matters relating to product stewardship arrangements for oil. The amendments will broaden the expertise of the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council. Members will be appointed on the basis of their knowledge and/or experience in a range of prescribed subject areas that are relevant to the management and recycling of used oil. For example, one of the prescribed subject areas is the issues of remote communities in Australia, including those of remote Indigenous communities. The appointment of a council member with expertise in this area will ensure that I will be provided with the best advice on used oil management in remote communities.
The amendments provide clear procedures for the declaration of any pecuniary interests by members of the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council and for the management of any conflicts of interest that may arise. This will ensure the independence of the advice that I receive from the council. Further amendments will allow regulations made under the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000 to require that the most up to date versions of prescribed oil testing procedures be used to determine eligibility for the benefit payments that are made under the act. This will ensure that the re-refined oil that attracts the highest rate of benefit meets the most up-to-date quality criteria. The amendments contained in this bill will strengthen the operation of the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000 and contribute to the sustainable management of Australia’s used oil.
The opposition spokesman, the member for Kingsford Smith, made it plain that the opposition support the bill. I appreciate that. He also talked about global warming and the environment in general, and he intimated that our government did not have a national plan for waste. I do not know if he wants us to take over the responsibilities of state and local government, one of which is indeed the collection of waste.
We created in 2000, and are now amending, a national project, a national incentive, for the collection of used oil. More than that, we are promoting and making possible the refinement and re-use of oil, even to the extent of lube-to-lube. Of the over 200 million litres that are currently being re-used in Australia, almost one-sixth is now being used lube-to-lube, to be re-used in airconditioning or, primarily, in engine oil. That is an incredible thing and one which would not happen without the 50c that we provide for every litre that is so re-used. This has been one of the great successes of re-usable waste in Australia—in this case, used oil. I commend the bill to the House, and I believe that it is doing a very good job.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a second time.