House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020


Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Customs) Bill 2020; Third Reading

7:01 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Customs) Bill 2020 is an important bill for this House to address. You might wonder why the Blue Mountains, as far from the sea as you can get in Sydney, would have such conviction around waste reduction. That's because we are a World Heritage area and we care about the environment. One of the things I notice about the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury people is that our holidays are often by the sea. When we go there, we're really surprised at the rubbish we see when we find things washed up on the beach. It's a real novelty for us to be at the beach, so we make sure we get out there a lot.

I notice when I visit schools that, when some of the students talk to me about the issues that matter to them, the environment is always one of them. They talk about finding bottle tops. They talk about finding bits of plastic. They talk about turtles that have ingested plastic bags. One of my local schools has had a fantastic campaign around reducing the use of plastic bags, because they know that we should have had these sorts of laws a long time ago. They know we need to take strong action in this place, as Labor did when we were last in government, and that there's been no progress until now, out of the blue, seven years later, when we suddenly see a little bit of movement from those opposite. I have to say their environmental commitment hasn't been that apparent till now, certainly not on climate change. That would be the other issue that my community would be asking about. How about you find time while COVID's happening to do something on waste. I know you haven't got time to do anything on an integrity commission, but how about you find some time to do something on climate change as well.

This sort of legislation is much needed. One of the stunning pieces of data that should horrify Australians is the amount of plastic that we recycle. Twelve per cent of our plastic is recycled. That's in spite of the efforts people make to sort it out, to put it in a recycling bucket and to get it out. At my place it's on a Wednesday night. It's even in the diary: put out the recycling. There is absolute commitment by people to do that, yet this place has let people down. We have not had the standards in place that are required. Self-regulation has not achieved a high quality of recycling. So for those reasons I absolutely support this and, therefore, I move:

That the debate be adjourned.


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