Council mulls opportunities from $190M Federal Recycling Fund

Recycle logo - Wikicommons by Free Grunge Textures

Central Coast Council has welcomed a recent Federal Government commitment to help drive a transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

A spokesperson said Council welcomed any initiative that will benefit the Central Coast community and was considering the impacts of what the announcement means for our region.

“Council will analyse the impact of this announcement and provide additional comment directly to the community in due course,” the spokesperson said.

The $190M Recycling Modernisation Fund will see more than 10,000 jobs created countrywide and 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill.

The new federal fund aims to support innovative investment in new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass, with funding contingent on co-funding from industry, states and territories.

“As we cease shipping our waste overseas, the waste and recycling transformation will reshape our domestic waste industry, driving job creation and putting valuable materials back into the economy,” Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said.

“Australians need to have faith that the items they place in their kerbside recycling bins will be re-used in roads, carpet, building materials and a range of other essential items.

“At the same time, we need to stop throwing away tonnes of electronic waste and batteries each year and develop new ways to recycle valuable resources.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity.”

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President, Linda Scott, said councils are at the forefront of waste and recycling and have long campaigned for a major overhaul of waste and recycling management.

She said the announcement was potentially a big step forward although details of how the funds could be accessed remained muddy.

Scott expects the fund to generate $600M in recycling investment and transform Australia’s waste and recycling capacity, in line with LGNSW plans under its Save Our Recycling campaign.

“However, we are keen to see the detail of this program,” she said.

“For example, who can apply and what are the requirements for this funding?

“The announcement includes the requirement for co-funding from state governments and industry (but) we are yet to hear if the NSW Government will commit and on what basis.

“These are absolutely essential issues for local councils and recycling facility operators, who are facing increasing pressure to deal with mounting waste and decreasing landfill space.

“We also support calls for this investment to be accompanied by a commitment to create greater demand for recycled materials through government procurement targets.”

Scott said LGNSW was calling on the NSW Government to: provide funding to councils to develop regional waste plans and deliver priority infrastructure; increase procurement of recycled goods made with domestic content and support a circular economy; deliver statewide education campaigns to promote waste avoidance and recycling; and introduce producer responsibility schemes for problematic materials.

“Today’s Federal announcement is a critical step forward in dealing with this issue, but much more needs to be done quickly to fix waste management in our state,” she said.

“We will continue to work with the NSW Government on behalf of councils to drive these changes.”

Terry Collins