In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association president. The following is from Mayor Genia McCaffery, President of the Local Government Association of New South Wales.
In July, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced his commitment to drafting a Regulatory Impact Statement for national Container Deposit Legislation at a meeting of the Ministers of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC).
This legislation would establish a national deposit and refund system for used beverage containers.
The Local Government Association of NSW welcomes this commitment to investigate Federal legislation on container deposits, an issue that is of great concern for local councils in NSW.
NSW councils have long called for the introduction of Container Deposit Legislation to address the problem of roadside litter and reduce the financial burden of operating kerbside waste and recycling collection services.
For years there’s been much procrastination and delay in NSW, while South Australia has been running a popular container deposit scheme since 1977. Other countries such as Canada, the USA and many countries in Europe have successful national schemes.
National Container Deposit Legislation will bring a range of environmental benefits, including a reduction in litter, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and material disposed of to landfill.
It will raise awareness of the importance of the cautious use of plastic bottles, and will provide a strong incentive to recycle.
I believe we all have a responsibility as members of the community to protect our environmental resources and think about the choices we make when we purchase recyclable goods.
I am encouraged that in the meeting of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council, Minister Garrett and the State Environment Ministers agreed to working through the issues in a collaborative fashion.
A national approach will bring consistency and leadership to a local issue with global implications.
Local councils are key players in the recycling industry, and it is crucial that we are included in discussions about the options for future environmental management with Ministers, other Environmental leaders and peak bodies.
We look forward to reading the Regulatory Impact Statement and having the opportunity to discuss how it could work in NSW with both our State and Federal Governments.