Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Landmark Product Stewardship Bill passes the Senate

Media release
15 June 2011

Landmark legislation that will reduce waste, increase recycling, and manage the environmental, health and safety impacts of products has been unanimously passed by the Senate today.

Welcoming the Product Stewardship Bill's passage through the Senate, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said it was a major milestone in the delivery of Australia's long-term National Waste Policy.

"This groundbreaking legislation provides the framework for a flexible and practical approach to product stewardship, recognising that each product, material and industry is unique," Senator Farrell said.

"When people recycle packaging and products, or when companies re-design their product to reduce hazardous substances in products, they are all being good product stewards. This legislation will encourage these steps.

"Product stewardship legislation will reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, increase recycling rates, recover valuable resources and prevent hazardous substances entering the environment.

"It will provide industry, communities and governments with a consistent, national approach to these issues."

The Product Stewardship Bill has strong support from a range of sectors, including the manufacturers and importers of televisions and computers, which will be the first products to be covered under the legislation.

"The Bill's passage through the Senate paves the way for a national, industry-led television and computer recycling scheme, to be phased in from the end of the year," Senator Farrell said.

"This scheme aims to increase television and computer recycling rates from the current 10 per cent to 80 per cent by 2021-22."

A list will be published each year of products being considered for coverage by the legislation.

Products currently on the National Waste Policy implementation plan for product stewardship action include televisions and computers, packaging, tyres and mercury containing lights.

Proposals for future schemes under the product stewardship framework will need to be evidence based, taking into account both the costs and benefits.

A Regulatory Impact Statement is currently being prepared on a range of measures to address packaging waste and litter, including container deposit, with public consultation expected to begin later this year.

The Product Stewardship Bill will now be considered by the House of Representatives.