Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Government Departments: Recycled Paper

3:43 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I, and also on behalf of Senator Muir, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in July 2015, the Government withdrew from a longstanding commitment to supply 100 per cent Australian recycled paper to government departments, as outlined in the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015,

(ii) industry and environment groups, including the Victorian Association of Forest Industries, the Australian Forest Products Association, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Wilderness Society, support the commitment of government purchase of 100 per cent recycled paper.

(iii) Australian Paper opened a new $90 million recycling plant in Maryvale in May 2015, which was supported with a $9.5 million grant from the Federal Government, and which was positioned to supply recycled paper to federal government departments, and

(iv) using Australian recycled paper will boost the Australian manufacturing sector, reduce expensive and unnecessary imports, and reduce the Government's ecological footprint, carbon emissions and resource waste; and

(b) calls on the Government to immediately reinstate an ongoing commitment to procuring 100 per cent recycled paper.

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

The government has a strong commitment to recycling, waste minimisation and the transition to digital record keeping. The ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015 did not mandate the use of Australian-made recycled paper. It was a guidance document to Australian government departments and agencies only. The finance department's Commonwealth Procurement Rules ensure environmental sustainability is part of the consideration in achieving the cost-effective use of resources in procurement decisions. All Australian government agencies must minimise waste by complying with the Australian government's National Waste Policy—Less Waste, More Resources. The Department of the Environment only buys 100 per cent recycled copy paper, and Minister Hunt has written to all ministers to ask that, wherever possible, agencies use 100 per cent recycled paper.

Question agreed to.