Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (17:02): I, too, rise to make a contribution to the amended motion, and I think it is important that we do have that contribution to put government priorities into perspective. For a long time, I have been a very strong advocate for reducing the use of single-use plastics in particular. South Australia has a long history of reform in single-use plastic, and I think it all started way back with the container deposit, which really set a platform for South Australia to be the leaders nationally in reform.
We have seen the banning of single-use plastic bags or the shopping bags they once were; sadly, we still see some of them, but they are part of the retail sector. It is about how we address the ever-emergence of those single-use plastics essentially into our waterways and onto our roadways, and eventually a lot of it goes into our landfill.
For a very long time now we have seen the benefits of what the container deposit scheme has meant here in South Australia. I travel the highways extensively and have done for the majority of my life. What I have seen and continue to see, once you go across the borders into other states, is a significant change in the landscape. If the sun is in the right spot at a certain time of the morning or the afternoon, there is a glistening of plastic containers and plastic bottles. We see all sorts of glass on the roadsides as well, and that is a real indicator of what we as South Australians now take for granted. Most of us collect them, store them and return them for the deposit. In some instances, it is quite a valuable asset to people who are professional can and bottle collectors and that is their income. I think that has been a highlight in South Australia leading the way.
In my travels, whether it is here in South Australia or whether it is nationally, or even if I look at some of the international waterways, I am absolutely horrified by what I see, that is, the legacy of some countries. For example, if you go to some of the South-East Asian countries and you go to their oceans and their marine sanctuaries, you see large cohorts of plastic floating in the ocean, in the surf, in some of those bays and coves.
One of the experiences I have had has been a trip to Bali where, as far as I can see, there are more single thongs floating in the ocean than are manufactured. An absolute horror and a vivid picture in my mind is going out on a fishing boat for a day's fishing and having to push your way through myriad plastic and rubber products. We should hold our heads high that here in South Australia we are pioneers in being strong advocates for removing single-use plastics and single-use products out of our waterways, our roadways and our landfill.
Obviously, this year's theme is focused on beating plastic pollution, and it has had an impressive history. I have already covered some of it, as well as now being able to reflect on the former Liberal government's mantra. The now Leader of the Opposition is a very strong advocate and, proudly for him, it was one of the legacies he left as a minister—I think proudly, because he made a difference.
As his contribution has already stated, we did see a little bit of pushback, but we saw the benefits of that, whether it be the single-use products in the first tranche of non-use or then the polystyrene cups and food containers. They are the scourge of visual pollution and what it means for the roadsides and the waterways. Not always are people prepared to go into those environments and remove it, but we do see great action by some of the volunteer environmental groups.
However, I look for improvement opportunities here in South Australia. We have the River Torrens that runs through this beautiful city. It comes out of the foothills and runs through the city and down to the ocean. For far too long, my memory has been scarred by the amount of rubbish and pollution that the River Torrens carries through the course of its journey out to sea. Maybe, as a government or with an opposition's bipartisan lead, we need to look at ways that we can put more structures into our waterways to capture that pollution and build on the great work we have already done. I think that is a legacy I would very much like to see.
I recently attended Hort Innovation, which was a great expo, an AUSVEG initiative here at the Convention Centre, where I ran into a South Australian manufacturing business that are the only business manufacturing BioBags. Those BioBags are 100 per cent compostable and used for food containment. We are now seeing them in a lot of our supermarkets, particularly the independents, and we are actually seeing them in Woolworths. They are the BioBags in the fresh food section that we now see taking over from what was traditionally a single-use plastic bag.
I urge the other major retailer—I think it comes by the name of Coles—to hurry up and get with the program. They need to get the BioBags into their supermarkets so that they, too, can play their part in reducing the number of plastic bags that eventually can hit our waterways. They threaten native species. They are a scourge on the biodiversity of our waterways. Eventually, it all ends up in landfill one way or another, and I think it is important that we continue to bang the drum and be proud.
Sadly, we are seeing this motion that has been put before us today. I am quite alarmed at the lack of government contribution to this motion. I notice that we have seen three on this side, with maybe another one to come. We have seen one on the government side. I would like to see more of you make a contribution. I think it is only fair. I am not being critical, but I would just like everyone to step it up. If I was going to be critical, the next two minutes might be it, because I am going to touch on the River Murray and environmental water.
The South Australian Labor government have been very vocal on their ethos with saving the River Murray and making sure that we have the right amount of environmental water back into the river to sustain a healthy working river and to sustain a healthy environment, yet, blow me over, last sitting week that I was here I heard that the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water is now going to take water out of the River Murray for hydrogen. They cannot even meet their targets when it comes to meeting the basin plan.
I have heard the Minister for Energy and Mining talk about 200 megalitres. If my calculations are correct, between eight and 10 litres per kilogram of hydrogen is the water usage, deionised water. I think if we do our sums, the target for this $590 million plant will be somewhere in the vicinity of 36,000 kilograms of hydrogen. I do stand to be corrected, but that is a lot of water. That will take somewhere in the vicinity of six to 10 gigalitres of water. I am hoping that that minister will come up and make a contribution. He might even be able to correct my figures, but I fear that they are somewhere around the mark.
This government must uphold the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It must continue to look at all ways of contributing to the environment, making sure that we have sufficient water. Whether it is through buybacks, whether it is through infrastructure programs or whether it is through efficiency programs, we have to put all the cards on the table so that here in South Australia we are playing our role in having a healthy working river and a healthy environment. It is critical that the government of the day does everything in its power to achieve that.