Councils and communities of NSW are calling on the State Government to fast track its commitment to fund constructive and future-focused recycling measures in this year’s Budget.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the sector welcomed the government’s longer-term proposals to tackle the use of plastics, reduce waste and increase recycling in NSW, but increased investment must start now.
“The government’s proposed review of the Waste Levy is great news, but the national waste ban targets designed to reduce waste start on 1 July. There is no time to lose,” Cr Scott said.
“For two years, councils have been asking for the Waste Levy (estimated at $800 million this year) to be reinvested for the purposes it is collected.
“This year’s $800 million Waste Levy should be immediately invested in maintaining and improving kerbside recycling options throughout the State, particularly where it will assist the implementation of waste export bans.
“Communities cannot be expected to continue to underwrite the increasing costs associated with our growing waste problems, including increased stockpiles of recyclable waste.
“The levy needs to be spent on local resource recovery and reprocessing infrastructure projects that can be put in place in this year’s Budget to reduce the prospect of stockpiles of rubbish in our streets.
“COAG offers a chance for all levels of government to work together in a more coordinated way to finally start to create markets for recycled content.
“A well-funded and coordinated plan that leverages the buying power of all levels of government is a good first step and is long overdue.
“It’s time to rewrite existing regulations and procurement policies which we know continue to stymy innovation and the development of new recycled products and markets.
“NSW Councils are already working together, with industry partners and their communities, investing in practical uses for recycled products locally [glass, etc].
“A reinvestment of the Waste Levy in this year’s Budget would allow councils and their communities to:
- develop regional waste plans and deliver priority infrastructure;
- increase procurement of recycled goods made with domestic content;
- deliver state-wide education campaigns to promote waste avoidance and recycling; and
- introduce producer responsibility schemes for problematic materials.”
Cr Scott said the government’s NSW Plastics Plan and 20 Year Waste Strategy proposals showed Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Environment Minister Matt Kean knew what needed to be done.
“Local councils strongly support these proposals, but the time for action is now,” she said.