Western Australia will co-chair an investigation into the environmental, economic and social costs and benefits of a national container deposit scheme.
At the meeting of the nation’s environment ministers in Melbourne today, it was resolved that WA and Queensland would co-chair the working group to report back in 2009.
Environment Minister David Templeman said WA would draw on its considerable experience and expertise in exploring its own container deposit scheme.
“There is compelling evidence that a container deposit scheme would dramatically reduce litter rates while increasing rates of recycling in WA,” Mr Templeman said.
“I believe a container deposit scheme makes sense for WA and I will continue to work with stakeholders to develop a model that will meet our needs and attract community support.
“We are also pleased to play a key role in investigating the benefits of a national approach.”
The Minister said he pressed WA’s case on a range of key environmental issues to his Federal, State and Territory counterparts.
Mr Templeman said it was unfortunate no agreement had been reached on a mechanism for the long-held goal of phasing out plastic bags.
“We have been committed to phasing out these bags for a number of years now and we maintain that it would be best done at a national level,” he said.
“Rather, it was agreed that more work needed to be done before national action could be taken on getting rid of plastic bags for good.
“In the meantime, a high level government-industry working group will be convened to identify how retailers can increase the voluntary use of ‘green’ reusable bags and reduce the use of plastic.
“This group will report back in November.”
The Minister said WA’s leadership on the issue of waste oil was acknowledged through national support for a co-ordinated submission to the independent review of the Product Stewardship for Oil Program, due this year.
“However, because that review will take some time, the Carpenter Government is acting now by providing $300,000 over two years to work in partnership with local governments across the State to assist with the cost of used oil collection,” he said.
WA’s leadership in tackling greenhouse emissions from landfill was also acknowledged at the meeting.
“The Premier’s Climate Change Action Statement, released in May last year, commits the Carpenter Government to ensuring landfill site operators capture and use or destroy methane gas emissions,” Mr Templeman said.
“Gas emissions from landfill waste dumps account for about three per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“While capturing landfill gas emission is important, there also needs to be greater emphasis placed on reducing the amount of organic matter dumped in landfill sites.
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