Prime Minister, Scott Morrison opened the inaugural Australian Plastics Summit at Parliament House yesterday, March 2 telling around 200 stakeholders within the industry that his government would strengthen Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to energise the sector as it tackles the National Waste Action Plan.
Referencing the success of Australia’s Indigenous businesses, Morrison said that the government would change Commonwealth guidelines to ensure every procurement made by a government agency would examine recycled content as well as environmental sustainability to determine value for money.
“By focusing on these practical steps, we will be able to see progress as we did with our procurement policy to energise our Indigenous businesses,” he said.
However, Morrison did advise that the delegates from various sectors of the industry who were sitting in the room, were definitely part of the solution.
“There’s no doubt that the misuse of plastics is a scarring on our lands and oceans but, just as scientists and engineers solved the problem of human waste going into ocean outflows, you are also in a position to deliver a similar outcome,” he said.
He added that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in two weeks was significant as the federal government, along with state and territory leaders would then finalise a ban on the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres.
An announcement would also be made in May’s budget aimed at improving Australia’s recycling and collection systems. He also noted that the Report released last week by Infrastructure Australia had made resource recovery a High Priority Project.
“We will work with the states to build partnerships to grow the recycling market. This is particularly good news for regional Australia as it will deliver more jobs.
I am excited about the opportunities to build markets and increase demand for recycled products.”
Minister for Agriculture, Water and the Environment Sussan Ley, who hosted the event, said that the one-day summit was designed to ‘walk the talk’ and that a major focus would be getting people and companies interested in making waste valuable.
“Our key purpose is to connect key players, to find new ways of doing business and to spur action,” she said.