Ms WOODRUFF (Franklin - Motion) - Madam Speaker, I move -
That the House -
(1) Notes -
(a) Tasmania and Victoria are the only Australian states that have not committed to introducing a container deposit scheme;
(b) the Liberal Western Australian and Labor Queensland governments recently committed to introducing a 10c container refund scheme, and the Liberal New South Wales government tabled draft legislation to do the same last month; and
(c) the Australian Senate Standing Committee report 'Toxic Tide: the Threat of Marine Plastic', with cross-party support, recommended the Australian Government intervene and develop legislation for any State that fails to implement a container deposit scheme.
(2) Recognises that -
(a) Tasmania has a clean green brand and is currently the nation's tourism hot spot. However, we have some of the highest levels of litter in the country on our roadsides;
(b) Tasmania beaches and waterways are being polluted with cans and plastic bottles, which make up more than half the plastic found (by volume) on Australian beaches; and
(c) the negative impact of marine plastic on endangered seabirds is more severe on the Tasmanian east coast than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere.
(3) Understands that a container deposit scheme is projected to -
(a) create over 380 new jobs in Tasmania, including for people living with a disability;
(b) save approximately $1.4 million in kerbside recycling costs for councils each year;
(c) benefit young Tasmanians looking for pocket money, schools, community groups, sporting clubs and small business enterprises;
(d) improve the recycling rates of beverage containers in Tasmania that are currently the worst in the nation; and
(e) help improve the authenticity of Tasmania’s clean and green brand for our tourism and export industries.
(4) Will legislate to introduce a container deposit scheme.
This motion seeks to ensure that Tasmania commits to implementing a container deposit scheme. It is long overdue. Across Australia, approximately 15 000 bottles and cans are littered or thrown into landfill every minute, amounting to an incredible 8 billion containers each year.
There has been decades of campaigning by conservation minded members of our Australian community to clean up our roadsides, to rid us of the ugliness and the damage that caused on land and in oceans by drink container litter. This hard work is finally, after these many, many decades, being rewarded. That is, if you live almost everywhere else in Australia, except Tasmania.
South Australia has had a container deposit scheme in place since 1977, nearly 40 years, and the Northern Territory established one in 2013. New South Wales is Australia's most popular state. It produces about 168 million beverage containers, or 17 500 tonnes, of litter every single year . Much of their plastic waste washes up on our Tasmanian beaches. In January last year, the New South Wales Liberal Government indicated it intends to introduce a container deposit scheme to end this environmental damage. That state is now less than one year away from a 10 cent container deposit scheme. The implementing bill for this legislation was passed by the Parliament in New South Wales last week.
On 22 July this year the Queensland Labor Government announced that it will introduce a container deposit scheme, likely in partnership with New South Wales, and their implementation time frame is 2017-18. The West Australian Liberal Government followed suit on 16 August and announced they will bring in a scheme to align with Queensland and New South Wales. It is widely expected the ACT will make a similar announcement soon, given their small size and that they are geographically surrounded by New South Wales, they have said previously they will adopt a container deposit scheme when New South Wales does.
It is only Tasmania and Victoria that have yet to signal our intentions to implement a scheme. Tasmania has every reason of course to join the national trend. Drink bottles thoughtlessly tossed out of car windows in Tasmania can quickly make their way into our oceans. We are seeing a large amount of devastation documented by scientists from UTAS, in birdlife and other marine mammals on Tasmanian beaches, and in the waterways.
Containers made from plastic inevitably break down from sea salt, the abrasion of water and sunlight, into millions of microplastic pieces. In the ocean, these end up washing into the food of small and large marine mammals and end up in the stomachs of seabirds. Sadly, many of these birds and mammals die from starvation when they eat small pieces of plastic they think is food. It fills their stomach with non-nutrients. Plastic containers introduce toxic chemicals into the oceans that move up into the food chain. If you eat fish, they end up in you as well. There are at least 100 marine species in Australian oceans that we know are affected by plastic pollution that have been documented. That includes, so far, two-thirds of all sea birds. The environmental impact of drink container plastic is massive and growing.
Unfortunately, Tasmania has some of the filthiest roadsides in this country, littered with drink containers. Litter is a particularly sensitive issue for Tasmania. We are currently a national tourism hotspot, given our beautiful Wilderness World Heritage Areas and the clean, green brand which is a very important part of our tourism industry. These factors are major drivers in our tourism sector success and, in turn, that is an important source of jobs at the moment and hopefully will continue to be in the future.
The contribution of the tourism sector to our economy lifted 7 per cent in the last financial year to $2.1 billion. The aquaculture and agricultural industries rely on the clean, green brand for their competitive advantage in national and global markets. If we were to be the last state left not to commit to a container deposit scheme, it is hard to imagine our really appalling littering record would not be highlighted and there may be some risk to the credibility of our brand.
A cash-for-container scheme would be the single largest litter reduction initiative we could take. In Tasmania we have the worst recycling rates in the country. Only 12.3 per cent of our state's waste is recycled, compared to the national average of over 50 per cent. In Germany, a container deposit scheme that was introduced there has resulted in 98.5 per cent of their drink containers now being recycled. In Norway, it is 94 percent; in Finland, 93 per cent; in California, 88 per cent; and in South Australia, 83 per cent. It has been conservatively estimated that a Tasmanian scheme would increase container recycling by up to 78 per cent from the current low of 12 per cent where it is now and would reduce drink bottle litter by 84 million containers every year.
From a social perspective, a container deposit scheme would boost the economy and create jobs in Tasmania at a time when we sorely need them. Container deposit schemes are resource-intensive. The drop-off collection points and sorting centres create a relatively large amount of work. In South Australia, the scheme directly employs 820 people full-time and 290 part-time.
There was a report done by the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts that estimated 0.8 indirect jobs are created for every direct job in the recycling industry. After adjusting for Tasmania's rural population and the available technology at the moment, the estimates are that a Tasmanian cash for container scheme would create 306 full-time jobs and 80 part-time positions. It would expand recycling businesses already employing disadvantaged Tasmanians and people living with a disability.
This modelling work indicates that a container deposit scheme would inject at least $10 million new investment capital into the Tasmanian economy. That would result in an increase to the state's economy of about $20.3 million every year. When a container deposit scheme is introduced into Tasmania, the lower estimate is that kerbside waste collection costs will also go down by $28 million over 20 years. This would mean an average of $ 1.4 million in savings every year to local councils, which would help ease the pressure on councils that are now working in an era of reduced TasWater dividends.
Schools, charity groups, sporting clubs and scout troops can also be winners in the drink container recycling story. A container deposit scheme opens up a valuable fundraising avenue for entrepreneurial people and organisations at the same time as cleaning up our parks, streets and oceans. In the financial year 2012-13, a whopping $60 million was raised by charities and community groups in South Australia who collected drink containers. The scouts there fundraise almost exclusively by recycling containers. They generate income by operating 10 recycling depots, a hotel collection service, council collection contracts and trucking operations, as well as servicing most major events in South Australia. Overall they employ more than 100 people.
I understand from scout groups in Tasmania this would be a welcome source of funds here too. Each local scout group here is responsible for raising their own source of funding and they spend far too much time fundraising just to cover basic activities such as troop leader training and managing their safety requirements. A container deposit scheme would assist the scouts with purchasing equipment for camping, water craft and other outdoor activities for the education they do and the expenses of running their halls. It would be a long-term sustainable source of funding and allow for lower membership fees for disadvantaged Tasmanian young people who would benefit so much from being involved in the scouts.
Container deposit schemes are a deposit refund scheme that provide financial incentive for the consumer to return their drink container to be recycled. Containers can be returned and money recovered to the manufacturers via intermediary retailers or through reverse vending machines, which are best located in supermarkets, or the money can be recovered through the existing waste collection system. Different countries and different states take on different models.
In South Australia the refund value is currently set at 10 cents a container, which represents all the deposit a person pays on the drink when they buy it from the shop. This value at the moment has been adopted by the New South Wales legislation. Once it is established, a container deposit scheme would not cost the public purse anything more than a tiny amount for administration. One full-time equivalent position in government is what has been suggested. That stacks up with a similar pro rata amount the South Australian Government spends. The cost of the scheme and recycling the returned containers is the responsibility of the beverage companies. There would be no special cost to Tasmanians or the Tasmanian Government because we are an island state, so that is a faux argument that has been presented by the beverage industry. It is not a cost that either Tasmanians or the Government would bear.
Tasmania has already wasted time and money on multiple studies trying to demonstrate that we can or cannot afford to introduce a container deposit scheme. There have been quite a few problems with the studies done so far . Two studies were undertaken previously by the Environment Protection Agency to investigate the value of container deposit schemes in 2009 and the more recent one in 2014. The EPA undertook those studies to look at whether it was going to be appropriate for a container deposit scheme to come into Tasmania.
The desktop-only cost-benefit analysis that was undertaken by [Bookmark: OLE_LINK45] Marsden Jacob Associates for the EPA in 2014 made a number of assumptions and had extremely narrow terms of reference. Both those assumptions and the narrowness of the terms of reference have been strongly criticised by experts in the waste industry. The terms of reference informed the sort of research and analysis that was undertaken and ultimately the findings of that report.
For example, one of the flawed assumptions that they made was that the beverage container recovery rate would be 53 per cent in 2016 and 78 per cent in 2030-45 under a container deposit scheme regime. They assumed that it would take Tasmania 20 years to reach South Australia's levels of recycling, which is clearly ridiculous given the current climate of what is operating in Australia and the situation with the pressure of plastic rubbish, impacts on the oceans and the environment.
Another flawed example assumption was that the premium market value we would be able to get for recycled glass would be only $25 a tonne. A federal government study by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that that if you do colour sorting of glass, which happens automatically with reverse vending machines, then you can attract premium prices because individually sorted glass gets a much higher amount per tonne - more likely $100 per tonne minimum. That is a conservative estimate.
The biggest issues with the studies that have been done so far is that they have not costed the environmental costs nor the social benefits. The Labor Party walked away from implementing a container deposit scheme in the last term of government. They justified their inaction because, in their view, the cost to be borne by the beverage industry would be too great. You would have to wonder whether the two reports that were produced in 2009 and 2014 were produced with such narrow terms of reference and flawed assumptions, so that they justified the outcome of the day that the government wanted, which was no action.
The point is it is completely appropriate the cost of managing the waste is shifted back onto the companies who benefit financially from selling single-use plastic containers in Tasmania. The entire purpose of container deposit schemes is to extend the responsibility of companies that produce goods. At the moment there is no incentive at all for them to take responsibility for the container waste that their goods generate and for the litter management and environmental damage that they create. At the moment all these costs are carried by us, the taxpayer, through our council rates and by us through the loss of seabirds and other animals, and the damage to the marine ecosystem.
Last week the New South Wales Government passed its bill for a container deposit scheme, which is going to start from 1 July next year. The objective in that bill states two things: it recognises the responsibility that the beverage industry shares with the community for reducing and dealing with waste generated by beverage product packaging; and it establishes a cost-effective statewide container deposit scheme to assist the beverage industry to discharge that responsibility and to promote the recovery, reuse and recycling of empty beverage containers.
The vast majority of Tasmanians want a container deposit scheme in Tasmania. In 2011 91 per cent of Tasmanians polled supported the introduction of a scheme like that. They saw how well it would work in Tasmania to reduce litter, to encourage recycling and reduce landfill. They saw what has been happening in South Australia for 40 years and they want it here.
So as container deposit schemes are implemented in other jurisdictions around Australia, it is very likely that the widespread support in Tasmania would rise. This is what has happened in South Australia. It has been there for 40 years and 98 per cent of South Australians support the container deposit scheme now. An overwhelming majority of people there believe that it does reduce litter, it encourages container recycling and re-use and it reduces the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
The only group that does not want a container deposit scheme is the beverage industry. They see this move as a challenge to their market share. They see it as an indication of the pressure that is mounting to introduce product stewardship across the board for a range of plastic packaging.
Which person in Tasmania and which person sitting in this Chamber is not outraged is not outraged when you go down to the local shop to buy a paint brush? You cannot even do that without having to cut it out of a thick plastic box. You pretty much hospitalise yourself trying. It is a dangerous activity trying to open plastic packaging.
Over the last 20 years opposition parties in other states in Australia have usually been for a container deposit scheme but once they get into government they cave into the beverage industry. They say that they would support one if it was part of a national scheme but then when the national scheme did not get up, they say, 'Bad luck, sorry. We cannot go ahead unless the other states do.'
In April this year the Australian Senate Standing Committee released its report 'Toxic Tide: The threat of marine plastics' with Greens, Labor and Liberal parties support. That Senate committee accepted that container deposit schemes are cost effective; they are an efficient mechanism to reduce the amount of drink containers in the environment; and that we have to have one in Australia. Their cross-party recommendation was that the Australian Government step in and develop legislation for any state that fails to do it itself. The federal government has finally, and rightly, said that implementing a container deposit scheme should be a state responsibility. There is no hiding behind the excuse and waiting for other states to act on this urgent issue.
The move of New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland to join with South Australia and the Northern Territory leaves just Victoria and Tasmania to implement such a scheme. In opposition the Liberal Party expressed support for a container deposit scheme in Tasmania and now it is time for the Government to grasp the nettle and act to legislate for one.
I would like to give the final word to Tasmania's Scout groups that have long advocated the introduction of a container deposit scheme. Those Scouts work hard to provide affordable, educational challenges and adventures for young people and Scouts Tasmania wrote to the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition asking that those parties allow Scouts Tasmania to take up the benefits that the South Australia Scouts have. Their letter concluded:
As a strong supporter of Scouts Tasmania, we are hoping you will show leadership on recycling and make the right decision for Tasmania's environment and community. We ask you to support the Greens' motion and help us join other Australian states in embracing all the benefits container deposited legislation offers our community.
Madam Speaker, today the members of each party in this House have the opportunity to respond to the Scouts' request and I sincerely hope that we can take cross-party action on this issue.
Mr GREEN (Braddon - Leader of the Opposition) - Madam Speaker, a container deposit scheme -
Mr Hidding - You would be an old scout?
Mr GREEN - No, my brother was a scout cub. I remember him picking up bottles.
Madam Speaker, I am old enough to remember, as a kid growing up in New South Wales, it was cheaper to drink your drink at the shop if you bought a bottle of Coke, because you had to pay a bit more for the bottle. In the shop on Hyslop Street in Wollongong, where I was when I was about seven or eight years old, the bloke would put the bottles out the back and we would go and get them and trade them in again.
Mr GREEN - It is hard to stand in the Parliament and not commend Ms Woodruff on her contribution. It was sensible. It pushed all the right buttons as to why one would want to support a container deposit scheme in Tasmania. It is occurring around the rest of Australia, and the states are gradually moving this way. It makes it all the more difficult when she starts to foreshadow some of the things you might say in your own contribution, for example, that the issues are associated with the cost to the beverage industry.
I would like to see container deposit legislation introduced into Tasmania if I was confident, and the Labor Party was confident, it was not going to have a detrimental effect on Tasmania as a whole. There has alway been an issue, as I understand it, in our state with the associated economies of scale. The industry is already involved in making sure we maximise our opportunities for recycling in our state. Ms Woodruff makes a point about the 2014 review. She mentioned that the point of view was narrow. How it looked and the interpretation of some of what was put was, from her perspective, skewed.
We thought about that in the context of what is happening in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. We suggest that under those circumstances, it is worth us having another look at what the situation might be in Tasmania, from a cost-benefit perspective. We would support a review of that work to allow us to understand where we -
Ms O'Connor - What?
Mr GREEN - Where is your bill?
Ms O'Connor - We start with a motion.
Mr GREEN - No, you do not. Normally you are all gung ho and you bring in a bill.
Ms O'Connor - We put the motion.
Mr GREEN - You know as well as I do that if a bill came in and was fortunate enough to pass the lower House, it would go to the upper House. There would be some sort of inquiry, and a cost-benefit analysis done anyway. What I am trying to propose to you is that if we had tripartite support around a broad review of a cost-benefit analysis and it could be done relatively quickly, that might allow us to take a step forward. The Greens, when they introduce their legislation -
Ms O'Connor - We have been here so many times.
Mr GREEN - There is no legislation. It is a motion. The fact is that it is October 2016. You are saying we introduced legislation in October 2016. I want to remind you we are nearly at the end of October 2016. You do not have the legislation ready to go. We have one week of Parliament remaining. What I am suggesting to you -
Mr Llewellyn - That is in November.
Mr GREEN - That is in November. What I am suggesting to you is that there is a step forward here.
Ms O'Connor - Why don't you amend it so it takes us forward, if you are not prepared to support the motion?
Mr GREEN - I have been listening carefully to what Ms Woodruff had to say. I am prepared to consider amendments by your good self, in that regard. It is better than having it knocked off completely.
Ms Woodruff - We wrote to you.
Mr GREEN - We have done a lot of work. Looking at this, we have had people working on it specifically, trying to understand whether we are doing the right thing. It is alright to appeal to the Scouts, sitting upstairs. I know it gives you a warm inner glow and it makes them all feel better about what they are doing. I commend the Scouts for the work they do, but the upshot is that we have to make decisions for all Tasmanians. I do not want to see more costs go onto the average Tasmanian as a result of the decisions we might make. You say it will not cost Government any great amount, it will all be borne by the beverage companies. That is true. We need to understand what the flow-on effects of that are.
As it was put forward in 2014, a container deposit scheme is estimated to result in a net cost of $86 million over 21 years. That is a fair period, but it is a significant amount of money over that time. On the other side of the equation there are some benefits associated with it, without any doubt. There is no doubt other states are starting to move, which does not give us the national position we were going to argue for before.
Ms Woodruff - Every other state except Victoria.
Mr GREEN - I do not think you would want to be the last cab off the rank. I can get on the phone to Mr Andrews and find out exactly what is going on over there, whether they plan on going down the same path. Given our reputation as one of the cleanest and most pristine places in the world, you would want to be at the forefront. Before anybody starts pointing the finger at the Labor Party, we have been at the forefront of some significant change in legislation, plastic bags being one of them.
Ms O'Connor - That was driven by the Greens.
Mr GREEN - You did drive it and it was driven out of the east coast town at Coles Bay. It gathered some momentum and we supported that.
The Labor Party is advocating a short, sharp, broader review of container deposit legislation. This will put us in a position to understand completely what it means to the average Tasmanian in 2016, as a result of introducing legislation. If we can be satisfied, then yes, we would support container legislation off the back of that review. I am not saying anything out of turn here, weighed against what I am sure would happen if the Greens introduced legislation into the House, or if the Government did as well. I am sure further work would be done to allow the Tasmanian people to understand exactly what it means.
You might want to say that is sitting on the fence. I do not think it is. It is more than we have said in the past. I am taking a little bit of licence.
Mr Jaensch - You have to have a clause about not leaving crates of bottles out the back of a shop. You learn from those things.
Mr GREEN - That is right, do not fall for that trap. We understand organisations, such as the scout groups and others, do an outstanding job within the community. If life could be made easier as a result of that - and it has a flow-on effect to ensure litter is minimised and if, as a community, we all benefit in a way that is tangible and allows us to sleep at night without knowing we have imposed additional costs and made it more difficult - then I am sure we can all move forward.
We would happily accept an amendment to suggest a proactive stance. I can draft one if you like, while I am back in my seat, that we call for further, modern cost-benefit analysis to be done to allow the Tasmanian Parliament, the lower House, to understand exactly what it means in 2016.
Mr GROOM (Denison - Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage) - Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the strong commitment to this issue shown by Ms Woodruff on behalf of the Greens. This is an important conversation we have to have. The Government's position is, as I have previously articulated, that we remain supportive of a national container deposit scheme.
Ms O'Connor - That horse has bolted.
Mr GROOM - I think it is coming back around the other way. We have consistently had that position and that remains our position. We recognise that there has been significant movement nationally on a state- by-state basis and I think it is very important in that context that we have a close look at what is happening in New South Wales and what is being proposed by the other states to understand what consequence a similar type of scheme might have for Tasmania.
I take the opportunity to acknowledge the scouts as well. They do a fantastic job, and I say that as a former scout. I used to attend scouts at Montello in Burnie.
Mr Green - We know you often tie yourself in knots.
Mr GROOM - I do not think it is just about providing an opportunity for fundraising for the scouts. I think it is also very much reflective of the ethos that they live by and celebrate, which is very much one of being respectful of the environment. I understand it has a strong connection to the scouts in South Australia and I think that is a very interesting model . I know that in Western Australia they have also suggested that in the introduction of the scheme it can provide support for community groups, including groups like the scouts and also potentially other sporting groups and the like.
The Government's position on this, and we have articulated it before, is to say that as a consequence of the development with New South Wales and other states, in particular more recently Queensland and Western Australia and also potential movement in the ACT, we think it is appropriate to have another look at this. It is in that context the Government has committed to investigate the case for a Tasmanian container deposit scheme adopting a model that is complementary to the New South Wales scheme. I have instructed the EPA to undertake that work on behalf of the Government and we will look at it. As the Leader of the Opposition articulated, it is important that we are responsible. We cannot blindly go down this path. It might make people feel good to do that but it is important that we are responsible and understand what the cost and benefits are.
It is my view that there has been a significant development with the movement of the other states because one of the pieces of feedback we got from the earlier report, which I will make the point was a report that flowed out of a position of the former Labor-Greens government which was not to introduce a container deposit scheme but to undertake some work. That report identified costs for Tasmania in adopting a stand-alone scheme . What we are seeing emerge nationally is the potential in an ad hoc way for some form of national scheme. As I understand it, Queensland has indicated it is looking at adopting a very similar model to New South Wales, and the ACT has indicated that they would be willing to consider a model similar to New South Wales.
I am not quite sure of the difference between New South Wales and the existing models in South Australia and the Northern Territory, but it may well be that we can identify a model for container deposit schemes that delivers national efficiency. The basis of our position on this has been that if we were to contemplate the introduction of a container deposit scheme, it needs to be done in a way which is in the interests of Tasmania and it needs to be proficient. Therefore I think it is timely that we understand the details of the New South Wales scheme and what economies of scale may be delivered from the adoption of a similar style scheme, in particular down the eastern seaboard of mainland Australia.
That is the basis on which we have instructed the EPA to undertake that investigation and we will have a look at that. We are absolutely committed to doing everything we can, acting responsibility, to improve our litter outcomes in Tasmania. We all recognise that they are below the standard we would want. We all recognise the importance of improving our outcomes when it comes to litter, including recycling, but I think it is important that we do so from an informed basis. That is why the Government has adopted the position we have.
I will make the point that I think there is potentially the opportunity for tripartite positions in relation to this. As the Leader of the Opposition articulated, we have done that before on these issues. The plastic bag legislation was not a Labor Party or a Greens position, it was a tripartite position, and we should celebrate that.
Ms Woodruff - It's what we tried to bring on. We honestly did it with the best intentions.
Mr GROOM - Yes, but you have to do the work.
Ms Woodruff - We did do the work.
Mr GROOM - No, you do not have the work. As a Government I cannot just adopt a position blindly without regard for the practical consequences that has for the people of Tasmania. That would be irresponsible and I am not going to do that. That is why we have instructed the EPA to undertake this important work. I am happy to share that work with you so that we can advance this discussion.
I make the point that there is a record of tripartite positions in relation to these issues. We can come together on these issues, not to seek to divide using these type of issues, but to find a tripartite position. We have good examples of it. I think plastic bags is a very good example. I can recall when I was first exposed to the concept of banning plastic bags in Tasmania and thinking that that might be a pretty confronting thing for our community. It has been amazing to me how quickly we have adjusted. It is quite extraordinary.
Mr Green - Doesn't it annoy you when you leave your bags in the car?
Mr GROOM - It is amazing to me how quickly your perception changes. I was interstate recently and went into a supermarket where they were just giving you plastic bags left, right and centre, and it feels quite confronting. You feel somehow there is something not quite right about that. It demonstrates that we can change behaviour and perceptions on these issues quite readily.
We talk about our clean, green brand, but when you travel, as I did recently when I had the opportunity to go to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka - Colombo is where I went to - I was really struck by the cleanliness of that city. When you consider it is a developing economy it is quite extraordinary that it presents as beautifully as it does. Obviously there is a very strong commitment to that outcome in order for them to be able to achieve that. We have great friends in India and Indonesia, but it stands in stark contrast to the experience you have when you travel through those cities and see first-hand the really serious impact that has on the day-to-day lives of people.
We have a long way to go to improve and we need to improve in these areas, but we also have a lot to be grateful for. Certainly from our perspective the Government remains absolutely committed to good outcomes when it comes to reducing litter and improving recycling. We remain open to the concept of a container deposit scheme but we think it is important that we are informed and it is on that basis that we have instructed the EPA to investigate.
Mr Green - When are they coming back?
Mr GROOM - Hopefully as soon as possible to investigate the New South Wales scheme to determine a position on the appropriateness of a NSW-style scheme in Tasmania.
Ms WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, that is an incredibly disappointing and, I am afraid to say, predictable response, given the lack of feedback we had from the Leader of the Opposition or the Government. Only very recently we got a response to say that there was no negotiation. Let us be clear; in good faith we wrote to both parties wanting to bring in a cross-party, tripartite motion. The motion is simply to commit to legislating.
Mr Green asked why we didn't bring in the legislation; that we should have done something concrete and got it started. Every private members' time, where we do things like that, there is nitpicking. The bottom line is asking the Government to commit to legislation.
Let us look at what every other state premier and state environment minister, except Victoria, has done. Minister Groom says that it would be irresponsible to Tasmania's interests to not do another - at least the third, if not the fourth - cost-benefit analysis for why we should do this . Every other state minister of the environment or premier has made the commitment to do the legislation and then work out the details. That is what leaders do. They see a problem and they wait until the tide has turned. The tide has turned in Europe and every other state of Australia - and at the federal level - except Victoria. Will we be the last? This was the opportunity we had. The minister is just putting it off. It is a major distraction.
I have utter confidence it will be on the list of environmental activities for the Labor Party at the next state election. This will be their 'Great thing we are going to do for the environment. We will legislate to bring in a container deposit scheme.' The Liberal Party is going to do that too . Everyone is caring for the environment. Meanwhile we could do something right now. Scout groups right now could be 18 months closer to having that happen. Let us get started. Doing a cost-benefit analysis is not getting started, it is a distraction. That is the tactic, unfortunately, this Government uses.
This does feel like groundhog day. We have heard it all before and too many times. Meanwhile, we have community groups in Tasmania that could do with the money. We have 380 jobs which could be created. We have $20 million a year that could be generated. This morning we had a government and an opposition talking about jobs in Tasmania; the Opposition talking about the dire state of jobs in Tasmania. There are only two reasons why the Labor Party and the Liberal Party do not come on board and make a decision to commit to this. I am afraid to say to the Scouts who are watching that it is pure politics, not wanting to come on board with the Greens on this issue.
In good faith, nearly eight weeks ago this Friday, I wrote asking for comments on the wording of the draft. I presented a draft motion inviting comments on the wording, inviting changes, asking for amendments and any suggestions so we could reach an agreement before today. All of that was asked for, but there was no comment on the motion we have before us. I totally reject any suggestion this was rushed, irresponsible or not done properly.
Unless this Government does something we will be the last state in Australia to introduce a container deposit scheme, the last state to take some real action about the litter on our roadsides. It is an absolute disaster. I do not know if any other members in the House have been involved with roadside litter clean-ups, but it is unbelievable. People just throw rubbish out of the car. The scouts could be going around picking up the containers and getting 10 cents for every single can. What a fantastic thing that would be for Tasmanian roadsides and the tourists who come here. We want quality experiences for tourists. It is so easy.
We do not need to waste the EPA's time on another cost-benefit analysis. There is always the opportunity for the Labor or the Liberal parties to change their minds on this because it will look really good in the newspaper tomorrow if you do.
The House divided -
AYES 3 NOES 20
Ms O'Connor Mr Barnett
Ms Woodruff (Teller) Mr Brooks
Mr Jaensch (Teller)