Australia’s Product Stewardship Framework Legislation
One week after unanimous passage in the Senate, Australia’s product stewardship framework legislation passed the House on 22 June 2011. The Product Stewardship Act 2011 officially commenced on 8 August 2011 and assist in implementing a key provision of Australia’s National Waste Policy that
“the Australian Government,with the support of state and territory governments, will establish a national framework underpinned by legislation to support voluntary, co-regulatory and regulatory product stewardship and extended producer responsibility schemes to provide for the impacts of a product being responsibly managed during and at end of life.”.
Product stewardship criteria are intended to be basic filter criteria to help determine whether the Bill should apply to a particular class of products. Unless the Minister is satisfied that two or more product stewardship criteria for a class of products are met, then a voluntary arrangement cannot be accredited and regulations cannot be made under the co-regulatory or mandatory provisions.
Under both the co-regulatory and mandatory provisions, the Minister would also have to be satisfied that making the regulations will further the objects of the Act.
The Regulation Impact Statement for the National Waste Policy found:
- potential savings from national rather than state by state regulation of product stewardship;
- a cost to the economy between $212m and $414m above business as usual if states and territories pursued their own approaches; and
- a national approach to product stewardship would have a net saving of $147 million.
The Global Product Stewardship Council is pleased to have assisted the Australian Government in the bill’s development and supported amendments that provided for increased transparency and accountability, while enhancing a robust process for prioritisation of products for producer responsibility. The GlobalPSC’s Senate testimony is available on our Youtube channel and on the video archive tab at globalpsc.net.