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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 19

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (13:12): I am pleased to rise for the first time in this new year to speak on the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Bill 2016 together with the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Levy Bill 2016.

The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Bill regulates the export, import and transit of hazardous waste to ensure that it is managed in an environmentally sound manner to minimise its harmful effects on humans and the environment. The act implements Australia's obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, an international treaty set up to control the movement of hazardous waste from one country to another and its disposal. The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Bill and the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Levy Bill will allow for full cost recovery for permitting activities under the act. The bills will also make administrative amendments to reduce the complexity of the act and the regulatory burden on business. Consequential amendments will also be made to the act.

It is very important that we put these cost-recovery methods in place. I think every one of us, at the outset of this parliament and the outset of this new year, should commit to doing everything that we possibly can to get our budget firstly into balance and then into surplus to slowly pay down the debt. Very soon the decisions made in this chamber will have resulted in this country having half a trillion dollars in national debt—$500 billion! What that means is that every single month we must divert more than a billion dollars just to pay the interest bill. That is a billion dollars diverted from our schools, hospitals, roads, our kids with disabilities—all the things in our electorates that make us see how desperate we are for every single cent that we can get. We owe it to future generations of Australians to ensure that we do not make decisions in this parliament that add to the deficit and debt. This bill goes a small way to doing that. We are lifting the cap that was previously set at $8,000 for an import or an export of a piece of hazardous waste, to ensure that there is full cost recovery. I commend this bill to the House, but I ask my friends on the other side of the chamber: this year let us ensure we do every single thing that we can to reduce that deficit and to bring our budget back to surplus, because we owe it to future generations of Australians. I commend the bill to the House.