Pictured, left – right: Amelia Fuhr, Georgia Martin, Brigitte Fraser, Megan Hince, Julia Adams and Linh Nguyen
Image by Matthew Fletcher
Written by Georgia Mackenzie
After a highly contentious debate in the Legislative Assembly the Food Production and Wastage Regulation Bill passed Youth Parliament on Tuesday.
Tabled by the team from Ivanhoe Girls Grammar the Food Production and Wastage Regulation Bill proposed the introduction of enforceable carbon offset standards in the food production and wastage sector.
The sponsor of the Bill, Brigitte Fraser, opened the debate by outlining the link between the food production and wastage sector and “the ever growing issue that is climate change”.
“By reducing food waste we can also help reduce green house gas emissions, ultimately slowing the overall negative effect of climate change” said Ms. Fraser.
Under the provisions set out by the Bill the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning would be required to set carbon offset standards biannually. Victorian entities would then be required to meet these standards or face a financial penalty.
“There is definitely room for improvement in our food production industry” said Megan Hince, while asserting that the bill will make “the system overall more efficient”.
The Food Production and Wastage Regulation Bill was designed to assist in meeting the target of a carbon neutral Victoria set in the Climate Change Act 2017. Ms. Fraser also suggested that “with this bill Victoria will set an example for the other states to follow in an attempt to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions”.
During the heated debate the economic impacts of the bill were strongly contested by both sides.
Despite commending the cause behind the bill, Rami Saab of St Bede’s College argued that the introduction of fines for non-compliance could “lead to the economic destruction of Victoria”.
While Ivanhoe Girls Grammar representative, Julia Adams suggested that the bill would “reduce costs for all consumers” by ensuring the cost of food waste is no longer hidden within the price of produce.
In opposition, Matthew Watson of St Bede’s College reiterated the risk of “economic suicide” for a bill that “fails it’s over-arching theme … reducing climate change”.
Defending the bill, Georgia Martin suggested that the opposition “take off their 5 year goggles” and look at the long term outcomes of this bill. While Linh Nguyen called the bill a “crucial and necessary step” to “combat this incredibly dire issue”.
After debate of a number of proposed amendments the Food Production and Wastage Regulation Bill passed on voices.