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Members Statement: Container Deposit Scheme

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) : I rise to urge the government to implement a bottles and cans refund scheme in Victoria. Victoria is now the only state or territory not to have put in place or planned to put in place a refund scheme. Why is Victoria lagging on such an important environmental reform at a time when we are engulfed in a waste and recycling crisis, when bottles and cans are polluting our waterways, our local parks and our streets, and when it has the overwhelming support of the Victorian people, including residents in my own electorate of Prahran? The only people now standing in the way of this seem to be the state government, and some in the beverage industry who are mainly concerned about their profits and not the pollution caused by their products. The Greens have been pushing for a refund scheme for a long time now. In 2009 former Greens MP Colleen Hartland introduced a private members bill which was passed in the upper house but blocked by the then Labor government from being debated. And whilst the Liberals supported our bill in opposition, they did not in government, instead referring our bill to a parliamentary committee. There has been talk from a government and an opposition that it needs to be a national scheme. Well, we now have every other state or territory on board, and that excuse just does not wash any more. It is now time for all parties—government, opposition and other parties—to support and put in place a bottle and can refund scheme to protect our environment and to help fix the waste and recycling crisis.