OFF Launches Council Election Campaign With Mass Planting

Today, Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) members and friends gathered to plant out a small portion of the reserve near Oatley station. The project was started in May with 300 plants and today it was completed by planting 200 more.

At the same time Society President Graham Lalchere announced that OFF has decided to take an active part in the September council elections. However, he said “We won’t necessarily be advocating a vote for any particular candidate. What we are looking for are new candidates who will give the newly merged Georges River Council a fresh start.”

“We are seeking candidates who will support:

  • Council openness and good governance

  • Protection of open spaces like Myles Dunphy Reserve

  • Effective control of developers and development

  • Protection of trees on public and private land

  • Georges River water quality improvement projects and programs; and

  • Climate change policies that enhance liveability and sustainability at the local level.

“With this planting we are putting our money where our mouth is and leading the way to maintaining healthy parks and open space” Mr Lalchere said.

So, what we will be asking the community to do is get to know who they are voting for – It really matters. First and foremost we want the Council to be well governed by ethical councillors who act honourably, fairly and solely in the public interest.

Protection of our local environment underpins the health and well-being of the whole community. Councillors have a key role in ensuring our quality of life is maintained so look for those who will be putting these policies high on the agenda.

To assist with this OFF will be raising awareness by canvassing the candidates’ opinions and positions on important local issues and publicising their responses.

“We cannot afford to sit back and abdicate our responsibility when voting on 9th September.

Show you care for our local environment. Ensure it is protected. Vote 1 for a fresh start” Mr Lalchere said.

OFF Photographic Competition

Scroll down to read Terms and conditions

Download pdf of competition details

 

Tucoerah – Georges River Bushcare Volunteers Newsletter

DSC01423Tucoerah – the quarterly newsletter of the Georges River Bushcare Volunteers (GRBV) will now be available on the OFF website under Newsletters

Tucoerah is the traditional Aboriginal name for the Georges River and it is appropriate to acknowledge the original custodians of the land and waterways in the area.

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2017 AGM – Long Term Members Recognised

2M4A2731OFF 62nd AGM was on Monday 6th February 2017, held in Oatley RSL and Community Club from 7.30.The meeting was well attended with 38 present; apologies were received from a further nine members.

Secretary Liz Cameron presented her report summarizing the years activities. READ FULL REPORT HERE 

President, Graham Lalchere thanked the outgoing committee for its work during the year and announced with regret that John Davoren was stepping down as Editor of OFF News after nine years in that position. He detailed some of the projects OFF would be undertaking in the coming year. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ADDRESS

Philip Andersen chaired the election of office-bearers and committee for 2017. The following were elected unopposed: We welcome two new committee members Ben Hope and Keith McRorie.

President: Graham Lalchere             Vice-Presidents: Alan Fairley and Julian Sheen

Treasurer: Rodger Robertson            Secretary: Liz Cameron

Committee:  Matt Allison ; Melina Amerasinghe; Peter de Beuzeville; Vicki Bolling;Robin Dickson; Graham Fry; Ben Hope; Shaun Keays-Byrne; Keith McRorie and Kim Wagstaff.

LONG TERM MEMBERS RECOGNISED

2M4A2718At the AGM Graham Lalchere, Robin Dickson and Alan Fairley presented certificates of recognition for long-term membership to fourteen who have been members of the Society for 35 years or longer. Foremost among them were Rafe and Moyia Kowron, foundation members of OFF when it was formed in 1955.

Altogether 26 members were recognised for their long-term membership and certificates will be sent or delivered to those who could not attend the meeting.Members recognised were: Peter & Margaret Airey (1977), Alan Argall(1977), Janet Austin (1975), Elizabeth Benbow(1973), Beryl Black (1968), George & Barbara Carrard(1982), Lesley & Peter Cox(1979), Valmai Douglas(1975), Alan Fairley91973), Dave and Tricia Koffel (1974), Heather Mackey(1981), Don & Elaine McGuire(1976), Graham & Jenny Quint(1982), Julian & Annette Sheen(1975), Win Tonkin(1968) , Gaham & Margaret Walters (1968)

Recipients spoke of their delight at receiving this recognition and their appreciation of the work OFF does for environmental issues.

2M4A2734 2M4A2729 2M4A2726 2M4A2725 2M4A2716 2M4A2714 2M4A2713 2M4A2712

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Keays-Byrne took photos of the presentation – CLICK HERE FOR FULL ALBUM

Letter of appreciation from Lesley Cox: Peter and I appreciate OFF’s recognition of our many years of membership of the Society. Like many other members, we are “rusted on” and cannot imagine not belonging to OFF.

- Since joining the Society thirty eight years ago we have seen the many ways in which OFF plays an important part in the local and wider community in matters of conservation. For my own part (Lesley) I first read about OFF in the local paper at Peakhurst where I grew up, maybe in 1956 – the year I started high school. I seem to remember there were Oatley residents actively trying to take better care of the bushland in Oatley Park. Oatley Park was special to me even then, probably due to my conservation-minded grandfather who took the family to Oatley Park from the time I was a small child.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL LETTER

Alan Argall – I would like to thank OFF for their kind thought; even though I am still a paid up member I have not been to a meeting since 1998 for personal reasons. For this reason I do not believe I am entitled to the society’s appreciation. Once again I thank OFF for the thought and rest assured I will stay a member as long as I remain upright, in my recognition of the work OFF does for environmental issues.  

George Carrard – Thanks for your kind letter about our 35 years membership of Oatley Flora and Fauna Society. These days I am very concerned about global warming and hope members of OFF are too.

Oatley Streams Litter Audit -Two & Half Year Report

IMG_4030The results are in from a litter audit of several urban streams in Oatley conducted by the Oatley Streamwatch Team over the period April 2014 to September 2016.

IMG_0050Audit Locations -

  • MDR Mulga Rd Site A -Myles Dunphy Reserve – Creek from sewer viaduct to 50m upstream (towards Mulga Rd)
  • MDR Kogarah Site B – Myles Dunphy Reserve – Stream flowing into MDR from pipe under the railway line draining the Kogarah side of Oatley.
  • Dairy Creek – a 50m section of the creek from the sewer viaduct to 50m upstream

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Results – The top 14 items collected are shown in Table below

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Preliminary conclusions and recommendations

IMG_0049The item most collected was foam insulation and packaging (whole and remnants), whilst the second most collected item was plastic film remnants.

IMG_4052The foam insulation becomes a problem in the environment as it breaks up into small pieces, right down to the spherical beads ( 2-4mm diameter). At this size it would be easily ingested by aquatic fauna and birds.

Equally the plastic film remnants tear apart, wrap around vegetation and clog streams, drains and gross pollutant traps. They also become partly buried in stream bed and banks and then may be exposed in the next high flow event. They too present a threat to aquatic fauna and birds as well as vegetation due to its smothering effect.

IMG_4581Nine out of the top 14 items were based on a plastic material in one form or another. The foam (or polystyrene) form is increasingly being used for packaging, particularly around consumer items such as electrical appliances, as it is lightweight and helps to reduce transport costs. However, this material is not readily recycled in the general community as it is not allowed to be put into our yellow recycling bins that are regularly collected.

It is understood however that it is capable of being recycled and large quantities are actually processed by specialist companies. It needs to be made easier for residents to at least drop this material off at a conveniently located central depot. The proposed Georges River Council’s St George Community Recycling Facility to be located at Depot Rd Mortdale would be a good location and it is highly recommended that the capacity for recycling polystyrene foam waste be incorporated in this facility.

P1010385In regard to plastic bags and plastic film remnants community recycling of these materials is just starting to catch up. Plastic resulting from many food packaging situations such as bread, frozen vegetables, etc and newspaper and magazine wraps and a range of other items have recently become able to be dropped off at REDcycle bins located at certain Woolworths and Coles supermarkets.

In this regard it is highly recommended that Georges River Council also consider establishing a drop-off capacity for these types of plastics in the proposed new St George Community Recycling Facility at Mortdale.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

HEAR OUR NEXT SPEAKER on 27 February 2017  -  Associate Professor Stuart Khan from UNSW Civil Engineering Faculty talking about the concept of turning urban rivers – like Parramatta River – into swimmable recreation areas by arresting contaminants.  Did you know that Oatley Swimming Club at Jewfish Bay Baths, has a long history and enduring existence of as swimming? It will be interesting  what can tell us to do to ensure that it remains safe in terms of water quality?

Recent Leader article highlights that the River health is slipping.

The recent 2015-16 Georges River Combined Council’s  report card revealed a slight decline in the ecological condition of the catchment.

With the Greater Sydney Commission’s draft region plan for Sydney South projecting 23,000 more homes in the next 40 years outlook for the waterways is unfavourable.

Penshurst Public School Project

P1000645Oatley Flora and Fauna Society was contacted in mid 2016 to help years 3 & 4 at Penshurst Public School, with a unit on Sustainability in Term 3. We were asked to talk about sustainability or endangered fauna and flora in the Georges River area and to suggest native plants suitable for an area of the playground to be planted by the children.

image2On 15 September four OFF members – Melina Amerasinghe, Vicki Bolling, Liz Cameron and Graham Fry – spoke to about 120 children. Melina presented a slide show on the historical forest on Forest Road, and the subsequent clearing and settlement of the area. The children listened with interest and participated actively, asking question throughout the presentation.         CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW

P1000652Some plants and birds were highlighted to show the structure and variety of plants and animals of the lost forest with some flowers passed around to the children. A small group of students planted some of the native shrubs we had brought with us. A list of plants suitable for the garden was suggested with an offer by the society to source some for the school.

P1070022There was some concern that with the onset of the warmer weather it may be best to wait till Autumn in 2017. However, as the children were enthusiastic to see the project completed and with the assurances that the caretaker was going to water the plants over the summer holiday, the society funded tube stock from the Menai Wildflower Group nursery. These were planted late in term 4.

InvitationVicki Bolling and Liz Cameron attended the Grand Opening of the Garden on 8 December with a program and refreshments organised by the students. The students sang a song about sustainability with the refrain “refuse, reuse, recycle” composed by one of the teachers and his daughter. We hope this has been a fulfilling project for the children that will instill in them an interest in local flora and fauna.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Lions Festival 2016

img_0974This year’s festival was superb, sunny with a light breeze, and well attended. OFF’s stand, was adjacent to the Bush Care and Oatley Heritage sites, and we all benefited from the locations with the public going to each of our stalls. img_1045

OFF had a good range of materials, both free and for sale. Our Oatley Park brochures were popular, particularly the bird brochure, and Shaun Keys-Burn produced a nice set of greeting cards using the brilliant photos of Peter Mercer. These sold well and raised over $100.

img_0972We had a good range of plants for sale, courtesy of the East Hills Aust Plant Society and Menai Wildflower Group. We sold about 75% of the stock and were very happy to share the proceeds with the suppliers.

img_1037 This is OFF’s best opportunity for public exposure. We benefited by gaining 5 new memberships on the day, and distributing many membership packages. It was a good day; many thanks to the volunteer staff, and to those who arranged our stall

What Next for Oatley Bowling Club Site?

p1000594It is disappointing that the Georges River Council is pursuing action to alienate public land.

A development application to consolidate the lots at the former Oatley Bowling Club (OBC) site was approved (9/9/16) by the Independent Hearing Assessment Panel (IHAP). Whilst this DA does not include any construction and operational works, community members addressing the panel stated that it is integral to the rezoning planning proposal submitted in conjunction with this DA. 

p1000351Despite the consolidation, the OBC site is STILL in Myles Dunphy Reserve, given the following statements in the IHAP report…. ” The lots will remain in one ownership and still form part of the public reserve and community land. ” See Friends of Oatley Website for more on the campaign to keep public land public

In September 2010 the former Hurstville Council decided to rezone the former Oatley Bowling Club site in Myles Dunphy Reserve from Open Space to Residential. Georges River Council is now proposing to rezone the site to SP2 Infrastructure (Seniors housing) as per 2014 council resolutions.  There are no height limits in SP2 zones whereas residential zones are limited to three (3) storeys. Documents from two closed door meetings in 2014 have been finally made public (3/8/16). It appears council resolved to build more than 80 seniors residences including tower potentially up to 9 storeys  for it to be financially viable. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

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p1000362A Planning Proposal Should be in the next few months – This should include traffic and access, contamination, train noise and vibration, hydraulic services, as well as bushfire, ecological and planning studies.

As part of this stage there will be opportunities for the community to provide their feedback to Council via community information sessions.

 

The community can to keep up to date on this issue

pop-up-picinic-group-21-aug-2016by following Friends of Oatley website ; and Facebook sites  Myles Dunphy Reserve ;

Myles Dunphy Reserve Backyard ;

Oatley and Surrounds

Georges River Councilmail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au
State Member Mark CoureOatley@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Federal Member David Coleman  - david.coleman.mp@aph.gov.au
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lime Kiln Bay Awareness Project Report

Lime Kiln Bay (LKB) wetland was constructed in 2000 to improve aesthetics of the area and quality of water draining into Lime Kiln Bay reed beds, mangroves and the bay itself and then into the Georges River. The wetland and surrounding bushland represent a significant community asset. There are increasingly significant environmental impacts on the wetland from urban development that are causing a deterioration in the natural qualities of the area.

A5. Lime Kiln Bay wetlandsProject Objectives

  • Raise awareness in the catchment community of the wetland’s presence, value and significance

  • Increase community understanding and appreciation of wetlands

  • Increase community involvement in wetland monitoring and adjacent bush regeneration programs

  • Reduce pollutants deriving from the catchment (litter, sediment, etc)

Summary of Project Outcomes

Mark Coure 25 Nov (2)Your guide to Lime Kiln Bay Wetland

Ten thousand copies of brochure were printed and at project end date 7,600 had been distributed throughout the community; 4500 via letterboxes of all residences in the catchment and the remainder via schools, public and government offices, libraries etc and via community contact events.

Drain message stencilling:

DRAINS ARE JUST FOR RAIN, KEEP IT CLEAN, DUMP NO WASTE, DRAINS TO LIME KILN BAY WETLAND, DRAINS TO RIVER, and A STYLISED FISH LOGO, were used to spray paint 322 messages onto 129 drains/ sites at high visibility zones throughout the wetland catchment

IMG_1683Guided walks around the wetland:

Four 2-hour guided walks were conducted over a period of four months. These attracted a total of 73 participants.

Website and Facebook pages:

A page on the OFF website was set up for the project and postings were also made to OFF’s Facebook site.

IMG_1021 Community events and other contacts:

A total of 8 public contact events (face-to-face) were held (eg Oatley Lions Festival, Australia Day function etc) where the project was promoted directly to an estimated 470 people. In particular the use of the Australian Museum’s catchment model at the 2015 Oatley Lions festival attracted a lot of attention particularly families with young children.

Project implementation and management:

All the proposed project elements/activities were successfully completed over a 12 month project life. The total project cost of $4,618.17 was just $68.17 over the budget (grant amount) of $4550. OFF will not be seeking any additional funds. Over 600 OFF volunteer hours were contributed to the project.

Conclusion:

Given the small sample sizes of before and after project surveys, there was no conclusive statistically significant, discernible difference between pre and post situations. However, from the number of interactions OFF members had during the course of the project and anecdotal evidence, we believe that the range of strategies employed for awareness raising of the wetland and associated stormwater issues has been effective.  OFF will continue to distribute the brochures, conduct walks and promote the wetland/stormwater message at community events in the normal course of its future activities.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

2016 Federal Election – Candidates for Banks

Arms_of_AustraliaA questionnaire was sent by Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society to 3 candidates for the seat of Banks to  gain insight into candidates’ position and/or opinion on a variety of environmental issues before the coming election. The questions and candidates’ answers are published below as they become available. Answers are in order of receipt.

Philippa Clark – Greens

Chris Gambian – Labor

David Coleman – Liberal

 

Section 1: Candidates’ personal positions on environmental issues

Personal Question 1 Do you believe current Climate Change is real and represents a major threat to our world?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – Yes

Personal Question 2 Do you believe Climate Change is predominantly caused by human activity as concluded by the majority of scientists, eg, by the IPCC and CSIRO?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – Yes

Personal Question 3 What demonstrable actions have you taken to minimise your personal and your household’s environmental footprint?

Clark – Our household has water tanks, solar hot water and solar panels. We grow our own fresh vegies and herbs and avoid using heating or air conditioning by using plants and blockout shades to effectively control the temperature inside the house. While I drive quite a bit these days out of necessity, I much prefer to take the train or my trusty scooter to my destination!

Gambian - I try to communicate by email and work electronically as much as possible. I have a young daughter, and my wife and I are conscious about how our actions will impact on her future. Our household recycles and we have a compost bin. We also try to do things like take our own water bottles with us when our family us out and about rather than buy plastic bottles, and take our own shopping bags to do the grocery shopping (when we are organised enough to!)

Personal Question 4 Over the last decade what are the significant and demonstrable actions you have taken to protect and enhance the environment.

Clark - I studied horticulture when I was younger however I don’t have many chances to use the hands-on environmental skills – I have a desk job – which is a shame. However, I contribute to the cause in non-hands-on ways where I can, by writing letters and emails, signing petitions, donating and volunteering for various environmental organisations, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Keeping councils accountable for their dodgy environmental governance is a particular hobby of mine.

Gambian - As an active member of the Labor party, and candidate for Banks, I am proud of our policies relating to the environment and climate action. I believe that strong public policy is the way to secure the most significant of changes needed, including those to protect the environment.

Personal Question 5 What are the significant environmental problems you believe are relevant to the Banks electorate and the country and what actions have you taken to protect, restore, or advocate for the environment?

Clark -  I am very concerned about the health of the Georges River and surrounding bushland – particularly since Sydney Water’s ageing and overflowing sewerage systems continue to pose a threat to the water. One of my major campaigns this election is to clean up Yeramba Lagoon in the Georges River National Park. This once-beautiful spot has been allowed to stagnate and is sadly infested by noxious weeds. The Greens want to see tidal flow returned to the lagoon, the weeds removed and the lagoon dredged so that this problem doesn’t reoccur.

Gambian – The bushland and waterways of this area are to be treasured. In May this year, I was proud to announce $300,000 funding to the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service for the restoration and regeneration of Yeramba Lagoon. This will restore the natural tidal flow, improve water quality and reduce aquatic weeds.

Section 2: Environmental Issues

Question 1 Will you support legislation to enact a ban on both mining and gas extraction from all designated water catchment areas, for example the Georges and Woronora Rivers in Sydney?

Clark – Yes  In relation to CSG, the Greens support a full ban on CSG extraction activities across NSW, not just in water catchment areas.

Gambian – Labor recognises the community concerns about the extraction of gas from coal seams, shales and tight formations. When we were in Government, Labor added a Water Trigger to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to cover CSG and large coal mining developments. This ensures that if these projects impact water resources, then they are rigorously assessed under the EPBC Act.

Question 2 Do you support the enactment of “No-Go zone” legislation to exclude mining and gas extraction from prime agricultural land and environmentally significant areas?

Clark – Yes. See also answer to Question 1.

Gambian - Labor’s policy will extend the protection provided by the Water Trigger to ensure that any shale or tight formation gas developments that impact water resources will also be subject to a full assessment under the EPBC Act and approval from the Minister for Environment, including an assessment by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

Labor will ensure full assessment and management of environmental and other impacts, including on water reserves and co-existence with other agricultural activities.

It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to protect Australia’s most precious environmental assets, including prime agricultural land.

Question 3 Further to Question 2 above, do you support additional supplementary funding for and to address: the growing threats posed by climate change, bush fires, feral animal population growth, and noxious weeds? What measures do you propose?

Clark – Yes  We have announced our support for more money to our firefighters as we realise they are on the front line of climate change. We want to see more government investment in renewable energy and electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. In relation to feral animals, I support humane culling but only as a last resort.

Gambian – As part of a Labor Government, I would, of course, consult with relevant Ministers to secure funding for environmental projects in the Banks electorate.

Question 4 What level of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) do you support as Australia’s actions in response to climate change?

Clark – 100% renewable energy is possible, essential and affordable. This election, we are campaigning for 90% renewable by 2030.

Gambian – Labor is committed to ensuring a 50% of Australia’s energy is from renewable sources by 2030. For more detail, please see Labor’s climate change policy at: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/ , under “Acting on climate change, protecting the environment.”

Question 5 Do you support a fair Australia wide mandatory residential solar feed-in tariff which encourages increased use of renewable energy? Would you discourage the increase of fixed costs for consumers with solar systems connected to the electrical grid?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – I personally would support a sensible initiative that encourages the use of solar energy. The details of how such a scheme would work would need extensive consultation to ensure a system that was effective, practical and fair. A Shorten Labor Government will initiate an Electricity Modernisation Review including a review of the National Electricity Market (NEM). The Review would consider the role of feed-in tariffs. You can read about Labor’s plan for cleaner energy here: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/cleaner_power_generation

Question 6 Do you support the establishment of more Marine Parks, to assist in conserving Australia’s marine environment? Where do you envisage these parks would be?

Clark – Yes  We want to restore the coastal network of marine sanctuaries that was abolished by the Abbott government in 2013. In particular this election the Greens are supporting a Sydney Marine Park and a marine sanctuary on the Northern Beaches (including Long Reef and Cabbage Tree Bay).

Gambian – In November 2012, 40 new Commonwealth Marine Reserves were proclaimed by the Labor Government. A Shorten Labor Government will re-commit to both our expanded network of Marine Parks and a Fisheries Adjustment Package to ensure any impacted fishers will be assisted with any impacts from expanded Marine Parks. The Labor position can be found here: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/marine_parks

Question 7. What measures do you support to preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef?

Clark – Our initiatives include:

  • $500 million in grant funding to improve water quality

  • $1.2 billion Reef Repair Loan facility to help farmers transition to low-polluting methods and reduce fertiliser runoff

  • Reverse funding cuts to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

  • No Adani coal mine!

Gambian – Our Great Barrier Reef Plan has three pillars:

  • Science and Research: Improve science and research and monitoring of reef issues to ensure the protection and sustainability of the Reef is based on the latest, specialised science. This includes an additional investment in climate and reef science at the CSIRO of $50 million.

  • Direct Environmental Investment: Integrated direct investment to improve water quality, land management, agricultural and transport sustainability and environmental impacts.

  • Reef Management: Improve Reef management architecture and incentives to fix the fragmented and uncoordinated approach that has for too long characterised Reef management and conservation.

You can read more about Labor’s Great Barrier Reef plan here: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/great_barrier_reef_plan

Question 8. Do you support the establishment of a federal equivalent of the NSW ICAC and the limitation of donations to political parties to ensure that there is no undue influence from companies particularly developers, mining companies, etc. whose activities can be detrimental to the environment?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – I’m not sure how such a body would work, however I would be happy to discuss any specific concerns you have in relation to improper political influence by companies.

Question 9. Will you encourage investors, including superannuation funds, banks, financial advisers etc. to divest from coal related companies to encourage the transition to a clean electricity future required to assist in the mitigation of climate change?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – Transitioning electricity generation to renewable energy is critical to reducing carbon pollution. We want to see Australia return to being a front-runner in renewable energy investment. Labor’s policy settings will see lower power prices, carbon pollution reductions and thousands of jobs across Australia. With 20,000 Australians currently employed in the renewable energy sector, Labor has identified this as a growth industry.

Question 10. Will you push for the federal establishment of an over-arching and uniform Australia wide container deposit legislation, similar to those in South Australia and the Northern Territory and promised by the NSW government, to help in the fight against litter?

Clark – Yes

Gambian - A Labor Government would actively support the states in developing their own container deposit schemes, but if this hasn’t happened by 2020, Labor would revisit the issue with an eye to federal legislation.