Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reported back

The Local Government and Environment Committee has reported back [PDF] on Nandor Tanczos' Waste Minimisation Bill and recommended that it be passed with significant amendments. Originally, the bill would have imposed extended producer responsibility for manufacturers, imposed a waste levy to send an economic signal to encourage waste minimisation, and set up a Waste Minimisation Authority to encourage recycling. These provisions have all been weakened. Mandatory EPR has been replaced with a mostly voluntary "product stewardship" scheme, though the government may still regulate to require it for "priority products". The waste levy has been reduced from $25 / ton to $10 / ton. And the Waste Minimisation Authority has been replaced with an advisory board which can make recommendations to the Minister. Still, even these weakened provisions are a significant improvement on the present situation, and I can see why Nandor is happy about it.

The difficulty lies in getting the bill passed before the election. Given its place on the Order Paper, this is unlikely - too many committee stages and third readings, and not enough time - and so the only real hope is if the government adopts it as a government bill. But while they're supportive, I'm not sure whether they're that supportive; I guess we'll just have to wait and see.