The National Waste Recycling Industry Council (the ‘Council’) is calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to intervene in the City of Kingston’s decision of 25 November that has denied the extension of the Alex Fraser Group recycling facility at Clarinda.
Speaking about the City of Kingston’s decision, the NWRIC CEO Rose Read said, “the Clarinda recycling facility is of State significance. It’s capacity to recycle up to 1 million tonnes of construction materials represents approximately 25% of Melbourne’s recycled material each year. To lose this site will have significant ramifications for resource recovery in Victoria and the population of Melbourne.”
Not only does the site supply recovered materials to major construction projects throughout Melbourne, it also received a State Government grant to increase capacity to recycle up to 200 million bottles per year into roads, including bottles collected from the City of Kingston.
The Alex Fraser Group is an exemplar recycler, best in class Australia wide. Not only committed to greening our roads by reusing construction materials and glass from yellow bins but also in running facilities that are environmentally sympathetic to their neighbours. Their commitment to their local community is genuine, as clearly illustrated by their proposal to the City of Kingston to guarantee Council ownership of the site in the medium term.
What is also disheartening about the City of Kingston’s decision is that they have chosen to completely ignore the State Government’s Sustainability Victoria’s Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan (SWRRIP), where the site is identified as one of Melbourne’s key ‘resource recovery hubs’ necessary to maintain State recycling capacity.
This illustrates another major weakness in the Victorian Government’s ability to manage waste and recycling, where clearly they have failed to integrate their infrastructure planning with local and state government planning regulations.
If Victorians want best practice recycling it is important that state significant resource recovery hubs identified in state plans are protected and not simply overridden by local decisions. Moving these sites is not a simple matter, there are significant impacts not just on the recycler and its commercial operations but on the whole of Victoria’s economy, employment and the environment.
If the Victorian government is serious about getting recycling back on track in Victoria, the Premier needs to step up and mediate a more realistic solution for the future of the Alex Fraser Clarinda site as a matter of urgency.