Labor Senators' Additional Comments

1.1       Reducing waste and having viable methods of recycling is a critical part of living sustainably.

1.2       Responsibility for waste management and recycling is shared across every layer of government and the expectations of the Australian public can only be achieved if there is a clear Federal leadership.

1.3       Labor has led the fight to tackle pollution and waste management by establishing the 10 year National Waste Policy in 2009 and introducing the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

1.4       Labor supports moves by states, territories, local government and business to reduce waste and increase recycling.

1.5       Labor wants real action to increase recycling and to reduce pollution and plastics from entering the waterways in our cities, and eventually the ocean. International reports that there might be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish by 2050 are alarming. The fact that microplastics are being found in our food is something that we need to stop.

1.6       Labor Senators support the Committee's report and agree in principle with the recommendations. We note that some recommendations require further consultation on detail and timeframes to be implemented effectively. Labor Senators also note that the budget implications of some recommendations need further consideration.

1.7       Labor will work with industry and other levels of government to modernise waste policy. The waste hierarchy is a framework that should be incorporated in all waste policy. Waste-to-energy is part of the hierarchy, but Labor is urging caution to ensure we aren't just swapping one form of pollution for another.

1.8       Labor supports modernising regulations and systems across Australia, as well as looking at new and innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. However, technology is only part of the solution—it is critical that people are taking action. Whether it be building on the success of recycling by households to continue to reduce contamination, or by consumers taking advantage of container deposit schemes—we can't improve without the community.

1.9       Labor is taking waste and recycling policy seriously, and is consulting further on the best way to implement the findings of this important report.

1.10       Labor Senators would like to thank all stakeholders who contributed to the inquiry and the Committee for their work.

Senator Anthony Chisholm                                   Senator the Hon Kristina Keneally
Senator for Queensland                                         Senator for New South Wales

Senator Anne Urquhart
Senator for Tasmania

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