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Environment

Drowning in waste: Plastic pollution in Australia’s oceans and waterways report tabled

House of Representatives 2 mins read

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water has concluded its inquiry into plastic pollution in Australia’s oceans and waterways.

The Committee’s final report, tabled today in Parliament, makes 22 recommendations aimed at strengthening Australia’s plastics management framework to minimise plastic waste to landfill, incentivise the use of recycled materials in the production of new plastics and strengthen management of the plastics that are already in the environment.

Chair of the Committee, Mr Tony Zappia MP, said ‘Without urgent action, plastic waste will increase and continue to negatively impact our oceans and waterways. Australia needs to act now to protect its natural environment for future generations.’

A key recommendation is the development of an updated National Plastics Plan in consultation with state and territory governments, industry, and the community. Mr Zappia said ‘the Plan should be nationally coordinated and increase industry accountability to reduce the amount of plastics ending up in landfill.’

Mr Zappia added that ‘many Australians want to recycle correctly but inconsistencies among states and territories have led consumers to believe that certain items are recyclable or compostable when they are not. The Committee recommends nationally harmonising the single-use plastic bans, waste collection standards and the Container Deposit Scheme.’

‘Packaging and recycling labelling need to be standardised and simplified to reduce confusion and help consumers recycle the right containers,’ Mr Zappia said.

‘We also need to better understand the potential risks and effects of microplastic pollution on human health. The Committee has recommended investment in research and the development of a microplastic reduction strategy to limit microplastic pollution in our marine environments.’

The full report, including the Committee’s complete list of recommendations can be found on the inquiry website.

Media inquiries

Mr Tony Zappia MP, Chair
(08) 8265 3100

For background information

Committee Secretariat
(02) 6277 4580
cceew@aph.gov.au

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track this Committee’ button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

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