Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Product stewardship legislation passes Parliament

Media release
22 June 2011

Landmark legislation that will reduce the negative environmental, health and safety impacts of products - including televisions and computers - has been passed by the Australian Parliament today.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, welcomed the Product Stewardship Bill's swift passage through the House of Representatives, following its strong support in the Senate last week.

"This strong show of support for this Bill in Parliament reflects the desire of Australians to improve the way we manage the growing amounts of complex waste," Senator Farrell said.

"Whether they contain substances that may be harmful to the environment, or valuable materials that can be reclaimed and re-used, there is good reason to ensure that we handle these products in a safe and environmentally responsible way.

"Product stewardship means that everyone involved in the production, supply and use of the products we consume shares responsibility for those products - from the point of design and manufacture through to disposal. Enshrining this principle in legislation delivers a key component of the Australia's long-term National Waste Policy."

The first scheme to be established under product stewardship legislation will be a national, industry-led television and computer recycling scheme, which is to be phased in from the end of the year.

Regulations to underpin this scheme are being developed in consultation with industry and other key stakeholders, and are expected to be finalised in the second half of this year.

The framework product stewardship legislation will allow for product stewardship schemes to be tailored for products over time to suit changing international, social, environmental and economic conditions.

Proposals for future schemes need to be evidence based, taking into account both the costs and benefits.

The Government is currently working with stakeholders on voluntary schemes for products listed in the National Waste Policy implementation plan, including tyres and mercury containing lights.

Senator Farrell said a system of accreditation for voluntary schemes will be developed under the legislation in consultation with stakeholders.

"There will be an opportunity to seek accreditation for both new and existing schemes," he said.

"The Gillard Government is committed to sustainability and responsible environmental management. The passage of the Product Stewardship Bill through the Australian Parliament heralds a new, efficient and environmentally responsible approach to waste management in Australia."