Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Product Stewardship Bill introduced

Media release
23 March 2011

The Gillard Government today introduced into Federal Parliament the landmark Product Stewardship Bill, which will help manage the environmental, health and safety impacts of products including televisions and computers.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the new framework legislation will provide industry, communities and government with a consistent national approach to managing certain products. It aims to reduce hazardous substances, avoid and reduce waste, and increase recycling and resource recovery.

“Product stewardship is about everyone involved in the production, supply and use of products, sharing responsibility for the environmental impacts throughout a product’s life – from production through to disposal,” Senator Farrell said.

“Our entire community benefits when we reduce hazards from products and recover valuable resources from used products and materials that might otherwise be sent to landfill.

“This groundbreaking legislation provides for a flexible and practical approach to product stewardship by recognising that each product, material and industry is unique.”

Televisions and computers will be the first products to be covered under the legislation. The planned National Television and Computer Product Stewardship Scheme aims to increase the recycling rate for TVs and computers to 80 per cent by 2020-21.

“The proposed scheme will require importers and manufacturers of TVs, computers and computer peripherals to fund and implement national collection and recycling of these products,” Senator Farrell said.

“Recyclable materials that can be recovered from TVs and computers include glass and plastics, iron, steel, aluminium and copper, and precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver.”

Collection services will be progressively rolled out Australia-wide over five years by the television and computer industry, which supports the scheme.

The broader Product Stewardship Bill has been developed following extensive stakeholder and community consultation. The Bill has received broad support from industry, business, local and state government, and the wider community.

“The framework legislation will allow a broad range of products to be regulated over time and to tailor schemes to suit changing international, social, environmental and economic conditions.

“The Gillard Government is committed to sustainability and responsible environmental management. The Product Stewardship Bill brings to life a key component of our landmark National Waste Policy: Less waste, more resources, which heralds a new, efficient and environmentally responsible approach to waste management in Australia.”