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Waste Bill not wanting for support

13 July 2006

Waste Bill not wanting for support - but changes needed

On the last day of his 'Zero Waste Heroes' tour, Green Party Waste Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos is welcoming the widespread support and productive discussion of his Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill he encountered during the two-week tour.

The release of a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment entitled 'Changing Behaviours: Economic Instruments in the Management of Waste', which recommends exactly the kinds of measures for waste management that Nandor's bill proposes, is also a welcome development.

"Most people agree that we need to get serious about reducing waste and increasing resource recovery. Some communities and councils have already taken positive steps in this direction. My bill is about supporting those moves, while putting pressure on councils and businesses that aren't performing," Nandor says.

The bill, which recently passed its first reading in Parliament, seeks to use economic measures to discourage dumping in landfills, encourage recycling and reuse, and set in place extended producer responsibility so that brand owners must factor in waste generated over the life of their products.

"While I found widespread support for these goals, my discussions with councils, businesses and resource recovery operators over the past fortnight have convinced me that some of them will be better achieved if parts of the bill are revised before it comes back before the House," Nandor says.

"In particular, I now believe Part 7, which requires every organisation to develop a waste minimisation plan, needs to be either removed or significantly amended. My own business experience tells me that this provision would be a significant burden to business owners.

"One suggestion put to me is to clarify the law so that waste minimisation plans are not compulsory, but could be required by councils in certain cases, such as a large public events or significant building developments, as part of the consent process.

"I hope that the National Party will consider supporting the bill if this issue is addressed. Some of National's opposition to the bill - such as the outlandish claim that it would require supermarkets to display 6.5km long posters - has been based on blatant misreading of its provisions. While retailers will be required to display information about products which do not comply with their Product Stewardship Programmes, this would affect only a small number of products.

"Even though this concern is based on a misreading of the bill, I'm also happy to discuss changes to that clause. A broad consensus is building around the need to revamp waste management processes. I'm pleased that my bill is garnering so much support, and if we can build even broader support by making some amendments, then I am happy to do so," Nandor says.


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