On June 22, the Product Stewardship Bill passed through the
House of Representatives after a comprehensive review by the
appointed Senate Committee. It is likely that the Bill will receive
royal assent and be proclaimed in the near future.
'Product stewardship' requires that all parties in the
production-supply-consumption chain share the responsibility of
managing and reducing the environmental, health and safety
footprint of manufactured goods and materials across their life
The evolution of a comprehensive national scheme addressing
product stewardship began modestly in 1992 but developed strongly
from 2008. Recognition of the need in Australia for a comprehensive
product stewardship scheme, creating national consistency and
bringing Australian legislation up-to-date with other jurisdictions
led to the 2009 National Waste Policy. The policy set out 16
strategies for the reduction and management of waste in Australia
over ten years, one of which was the development of this
The Bill introduces three types of schemes for managing and
reducing the negative effects of products:
Under the Bill, if products satisfy certain product stewardship
criteria then the responsible Minister can regulate them under
co-regulatory or mandatory arrangements.
After a consultation process, the Bill was introduced into the
Senate in March 2011. The Bill was then subject to review by a
Senate Committee, amended in the Senate before being passed by the
House of Representatives unchanged. The amendments included:
The creation of an Advisory Group with the role of advising the
Minister of which products should be subject to schemes.
Changes to the product stewardship criteria relevant to the
Minister determining that a product should be subject to a
The requirement that lists of products to be, or being
considered to be, subject to co-regulatory or mandatory schemes be
published annually and 12 months prior to regulations to require a
product to be subject to a scheme coming into effect.
This Bill will have important ramifications for importers and
manufacturers who trade in products that are in a national market
and either contain hazardous substances, have potential for the
recovery of resources or have environmental impact reduced. Local
government may also be involved in the process of collection of
The Federal Environment Department is currently drafting
regulations to support an industry-led co-regulatory scheme for
collecting and recycling televisions and computers. Consultation
with respect to the regulations closed on 8 March 2011. The
regulations are expected shortly.
DLA Piper recently hosted roundtable discussions on the
implications of this new legislation. Through our international
offices we have access to European experts on product stewardship.
Europe has had product stewardship regulation in place for almost
ten years, including the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
Directive and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive. By
drawing on our expertise at both a national and international
level, DLA Piper can help you prepare for Australia's product
stewardship scheme through:
providing advice on the implications of the proposed scheme on
helping your business comply with the new legal
advising on any new opportunities the proposed scheme offers
for your business.
Also, if you would like to attend further roundtables on this
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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