Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 04, 2022


Civil Liability (BYO Containers) Amendment Bill

Introduction and First Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:36): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Civil Liability Act 1936. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:37): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Mr President, the bill that I am moving today, one of the many bills that I am moving today, will not be new to you or many of the continuing members of this chamber. It is a simple amendment to the Civil Liability Act to provide a protection for businesses that allow consumers to bring in their own takeaway containers. This would apply to food businesses. It would allow, in effect, a customer to go into a business, to bring in their own takeaway container and to be able to take food from the business in that container without having to use single-use plastics.

We know that at least eight million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year, and estimates suggest that, if this trend continues, by 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish. That is a really frightening prospect to contemplate. This state has a proud tradition when it comes to taking action to reduce waste, and in particular to reduce single-use plastics, and I do recognise the efforts of the previous government in that regard.

Members will recall that when I put this proposal to the last parliament it had unanimous support, and it is my hope that this is a bill we can deal with quite quickly in the new parliament. It is in that spirit that I plan to bring this to a vote in the next parliamentary sitting period so that it can be resolved early in the parliamentary term, given there is strong support in the community for this reform.

I refer members to my second reading explanation given in the last parliament, which was more extensive. I am happy to send that around to provide a bit more detail in terms of the intention of the bill. I also acknowledge that, in developing this, this was an idea that was first raised by my predecessor, the Hon. Mark Parnell, when he was in this chamber. When I came into the parliament I engaged significantly with three former ministers: the then Attorney-General, the Minister for Health and the Minister for Environment, and also with the then shadow minister, the Hon. Susan Close, who now of course is Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment.

I had understood that this bill was going to be dealt with in the last parliament and, indeed, the government at the time had indicated to me that it was going to be prioritised. Sadly, that did not happen and so I am really excited about the prospect of resolving this bill in this parliament. With that, I conclude my remarks.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon I.K. Hunter.