20 Mar 2013 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation regarding Qantas domestic catering recycling.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: I didn't hear too much of that; there was a bit of chatter.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Qantas domestic recycling program.

The PRESIDENT: Are you asking leave?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Yes, to ask the Minister for—

The PRESIDENT: Which minister?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —Sustainability, Environment and Conservation.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Thank you, Mr President. The Qantas domestic catering division, Q Catering, has been recycling cans and bottles and utilising our container deposit legislation in South Australia, and their moneys have then been collected and donated to a local South Australian charity. Unknown to Adelaide staff, the cans and bottles were purchased interstate and travelled back on Qantas aircraft to Adelaide.

In accordance with legislation, cans and bottles purchased under these circumstances are not permitted to receive the 10 per cent refund. This was detected by the recycling company after the barcodes were scanned and a warning was given. It must be noted, however, that Q Catering also purchases cans and bottles from South Australia and these goods generally travel interstate.

Q Catering contacted the EPA to seek a solution; however, their understanding is that there was no response or resolution and it is in the too-hard basket. Recycling ceased at the start of 2012. So, as it remains, Q Catering continues to pay the 10 per cent container deposit but is unable to receive any refund. My questions to the minister are: is he aware of this situation and, under the circumstances, would he consider an exemption to allow them to recycle interstate-purchased goods up to the same amount that is purchased in South Australia?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:45): I thank the honourable member for her most important question and ongoing support for our recycling initiatives in this state. I was not aware of the allegation that Qantas was trafficking in cans and recyclable bottles. That is a new one on me, but I will, of course, ask for a response from my agency and see whether there is anything we can do. I am wondering whether the cans that were brought back to South Australia to be trafficked were in fact branded as recyclable under our container deposit legislation. I do not have that information but I will look it up with some interest.