NSW PARLIAMENT LIVE: Labor backs cash for containers plan
UPDATE: Labor has backed the Baird Government's 10c container deposit scheme, but asked it to go further and ban single-use plastic bags.
Labor MP Michael Daley said the cash for containers scheme was "a measure that we've been calling for for many years".
"It's self-evident why these sorts of measures are needed," he said.
"The CSIRO predicts that plastic ingestion in, for example, sea birds, might reach 99% of species by 2050.
"We are calling on the government to go further than that, and to support Labor's proposed ban on single-use plastic bags."
Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith ridiculed Labor's environmental credentials, pointing out that former premier Bob Carr said he would ban light-weight plastic bags within two months in 2004.
In 2007, Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd made a similar promise but failed to deliver despite being in power until 2013.
"That's what we see on that side of politics... all talk, no action, promises that will never be delivered on," Mr Notley-Smith said.
4.15pm: 'Waging war on pensioners'
Labor MP Jodi Strathfield has responded to the Baird Government's claim it has made no decision about accepting IPART's proposal to increase train fares.
The Member for Strathfield said Transport Minister Andrew Constance was "very well where he's headed with Opal fares".
"What is proposed within this report is an increase in Opal fares that is three times the price of inflation," she said.
She added the government was "waging a war against pensioners" and planned to remove their $2.50 daily cap for public transport.
4.02pm: State's prisons to lose 73 teachers
The government is being taken to task over the apparent sacking of 73 teachers from the state's prisons.
Member for Londonderry Pru Carr asked how the positions could be cut when they demonstrably reduce reduces rates of reoffending and re-imprisonment.
Corrections Minister David Elliott said her statement was "all wrong" without denying the teachers would be sacked, or giving a reason why.
"One of the most important parts of better rehabilitation in prisons is to make sure the skills that they learn are practical," he said.
"That's why we have more than doubled the number of inmates completing literacy and numeracy courses to 1840."
Though he failed to explain it this time, Mr Elliott has outlined the plan in the past - to create competition between private and public education and training providers for prison contracts.
3.37pm: Planning gets weird in parliament
Planning Minister Rob Stokes has just used some confusing, Inception-level logic to explain how perplexing the state's current planning system has become.
He half-quoted former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - who he noted was "something of a mentor" to Labor MP Paul Lynch - to show how flummoxing the planning system's architecture is.
"There are known knowns in planning - that is, there are things we know we know; there are known unknowns - that is, there are things we know we don't know; and there are unknown unknowns," Mr Stokes said.
"That is to say, there are things we don't know that we don't know.
"The reason I use that quote as a metaphor is that in the same way that quotation is somewhat difficult to understand, so is our planning system."
No heads exploded, but there was plenty of laughter.
Also, Mr Lynch invited Mr Stokes to repeat his statement about Donald Rumsfeld's mentorship outside the walls of parliament (and parliamentary privilege) "so I can sue him".
3.19pm: The question that never ends
Labor is sticking to its repetition technique, with every question so far related to today's IPART report proposing a surge in train fare prices.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance is sticking to his own style, taking swipes at Labor's record and saying the government is yet to make any decision on the IPART recommendations.
Could be a long Question Time...
3.08pm: Lib-Nats talk up insurance reform
Services Minister Dominic Perrottet is painting the Liberal-Nationals as the real worker's party, citing the success of ICARE insurance reforms at streamlining claims.
"Under the old Labor system, victims of dust diseases had to wait up to one month to have their claims approved," he said.
"Even though some of them had only months to live.
"But I'm pleased to advice the house that since our reforms, 100% of compensation applications have been approved within two days."
Mr Perrottet said his party was well aware the state's current financial success was built on the backs of workers, and that insurance claims were a farce under Labor.
"The number one complaint was that their experience of going through the system was unnecessarily difficult and adversarial," he said.
"In other words, process was first and people were last."
2.50pm: Labor resorts to repetition
NSW Labor is sticking to a tried and true Question Time technique: just keep hammering out the same question, over and over again.
Today it is about proposed increases to public transport fares.
The most recent rendition came from Strathfield MP Jodi McKay, asking if rail commuters travelling from Holsworthy to Sutherland will have to pay $750 more a year on train tickets by 2018.
The government is sticking to its tried and true technique - repeatedly bag out Labor's own record, without actually answering the question at all.
Such sweet opera.
2.35pm: Baird shows some bottle
LOTS of self-congratulation in the Legislative Assembly over the Baird Government's introduction of a container deposit scheme across NSW.
Premier Mike Baird says the plan is to reduce litter by 40% by 2020, and the offer of 10c for every bottle or can will go a long way to achieving that.
There has been plenty of opposition from the beverage industry over concerns the cash for containers scheme would hurt their bottom line.
Coca-Cola Amatil yesterday reassured investors there was no immediate threat to profits, issuing an ASX statement saying the scheme "will not be implemented for some time".
"It is uncertain whether any additional states may consider the introduction of a container deposit scheme however the Queensland and ACT governments have both previously indicated their interest in developing a scheme similar to or aligned with NSW," it said.
Mr Baird just told parliament "the largest attack on litter undertaken in the history of the state" would begin on July 1 next year.