Australia, Circular Economy, Industry News, News

Victorian government steps up with major recycling investment 

The Victorian government will invest $129 million through the state’s Sustainability Fund to support local councils to roll out a new system from 2021. The funding package includes a four-bin kerbside recycling scheme across the state to begin next year and the introduction of a container deposit scheme by 2023. 

Premier Daniel Andrews said that the investment will mean more local recycling, more jobs, and less waste going to landfill.

The funding commitment has been positively received by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR). CEO, Gayle Sloan has described the Victorian Government as “leading the way”.

“Victoria’s government again leads the way by committing significant new funds towards our essential industry to help solve the challenges that we continue to face,” she said.

$49.5m will fund the strengthening of Victoria’s waste and recycling industry and infrastructure, to process more materials locally. This investment includes $28m in funding for businesses to invest in infrastructure through Recycling Victoria Infrastructure fund grants.

The Victorian government will also invest $30.5m to support local, and attract new, manufacturers make new products using recycled materials, through the Recycling Victoria Recycling Markets Acceleration package.

There will be also $10m in funding to help businesses improve resource efficiency, reduce waste, and increase recycling.

A new $7m Business Innovation Centre will be established to bring together industry, universities, and councils to develop new technologies and collaborate on creative solutions to waste challenges.

“We’ll roll out a behavioural change and education program to help Victorians waste less and recycle correctly. We’ll also regulate the waste and recycling sector, as an essential service with a new waste and recycling Act and a waste authority,” Andrews said.

Sloan said that WMRR was pleased that the Victorian government has flagged infrastructure investment as part of this package.

“This will be key to driving success as we work with government to continue to grow markets domestically for these valuable resources,” Sloan said.

By committing funding, the Victorian government gives industry confidence that they are at the table with us, working with us to solve these challenges. Our essential industry alone cannot solve these recent challenges. It is a shared responsibility that requires all parts of the supply chain including government and the community to work together to solve,” she added.

Sloan qualified her comments by stating that Australian market development and remanufacturing demand cannot be achieved by one state alone.

“As we head towards the COAG meeting next month and impending export bans, it is vital that there be national action on creating markets and demand for recycled products, this includes emphasis on design, a mandated product stewardship scheme for packaging and national specifications.”

Victoria has taken the lead in investing in industry, however we are at a cross roads nationally – do we head down the path that creates jobs, builds an Australian  remanufacturing sector, and reduces carbon emissions, or do we continue to act as if business as usual and a big stick will get us there?”

2020 could be an exciting time for our essential industry if all jurisdictions take the lead that Victoria has; commit new and real monies to infrastructure, research, technology, and markets. Let’s hope this happens and our essential industry gets the chance to create an onshore manufacturing industry and real jobs,” she concluded.