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$30 million boost for SA recycling industry

South Australia’s recycling industry will receive a $30 million boost with the Federal and State Governments signing up to a National Partnership on Recycling Infrastructure. The partnership is the result of the $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) which will generate more than $600 million in infrastructure investment for Australia’s waste management and resource recovery sector.

Federal Minister for Environment, Sussan Ley said both governments have each committed $15 million to advance recycling infrastructure in South Australia under the RMF.

“This $30 million partnership will be a significant boost for South Australian’s recycling industry and will help support our commitment to stop Australia’s unprocessed waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres being sent overseas for disposal,” Ley said.

“Expressions of interest are now being sought from industry, local government and non-government organisations who stand ready to commit at least one-third of the project cost. The co-funding model gives everyone skin in the recycling game and will increase the supply of high-quality recycled materials available for business and industry.”

Where is Qld and NSW?

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan first acknowledged Victoria which, earlier this week announced $8.1 million in first round funding for seven glass and plastics projects as part of a $46 million co-investment under the RMF. The remaining $38 million will be available through a new round under the Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund (RVIF), which will open for applications in March.

Yesterday, she said SA followed suit, announcing the inking of a $30 million deal with the federal government that would be committed to projects that investigate new technology and equipment for mixed plastics reprocessing, glass remanufacturing, and recovering and separating soft plastics.

“The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) welcomes this week’s announcements and congratulate the Victorian and South Australian governments for finalising and announcing their RMF co-investment agreements that assist in driving a transformation of Australia’s WARR capacity,” Sloan said.

“We have RMF co-investment commitments in almost all jurisdictions, with Tasmania, the ACT, and WA announcing their funding in 2020. These commitments are vital to addressing the immediate issue of the COAG export bans, as well as contributing to the shared vision of transitioning Australia to a more circular economy, increasing the capacity and capability to recycle, reprocess, and remanufacture in Australia.

“So, the question that remains is, where are Queensland and NSW in this journey? The COAG bans were announced in 2019 and the RMF in July 2020 and yet, we have not seen a public process to fund facilities in Queensland since 2018, nor for relevant facilities in NSW in recent times.

The first of the bans have commenced with the next coming up on  July 1 2021. Further, we continue to have significant infrastructure gaps in Australia that need to be closed sooner rather than later if we want to maximise WARR opportunities that will drive positive economic, environmental, and community outcomes.

Meanwhile, South Australian Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the extra funding will further enhance South Australia’s reputation as a national leader in waste management.

“I am delighted to see the Commonwealth and the South Australian Government sign this agreement,” Speirs said. “South Australia leads the nation when it comes to resource recovery, with 83.8 per cent of all waste generated being diverted from landfill. This funding will further improve the recycling infrastructure across our state.

“The funding in South Australia will be focusing on partner projects that are investigating new technology and equipment related to mixed plastics reprocessing, improving the recovery and separation of soft plastics, and increasing glass re-manufacturing.

“Unlocking the potential in these materials and keeping resources circulating through our economy increases our resilience to supply chain challenges and creates local jobs while also benefiting our environment.”

More than 4,800 people are already employed in South Australia’s waste and resource recovery sector. The RMF is encouraging further investment and innovation to ensure waste streams are harnessed as manufacturing assets.

Partners who are ready to contribute at least one-third of the cost of their project in partnership with the Commonwealth and South Australian Government, and have projects that are ready to scale up to deliver improved recycling infrastructure in South Australia are invited to submit an Expression of Interest now through Green Industries SA: