Federal recycling funding welcomed, but questions remain

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed today’s announcement of $190 million in Federal funding to improve the country’s waste and recycling capacity, but says a number of questions remain unanswered.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said NSW councils had long campaigned for a major overhaul of waste and recycling management and today’s outcome was potentially a big step forward.

“Local councils are at the frontline of waste and recycling in NSW, and LGNSW has been advocating on their behalf for urgent changes to the way it is dealt with at Federal and State levels,” Cr Scott said.

“The Federal Government says today’s announcement is expected to generate $600 million in recycling investment and transform Australia’s waste and recycling capacity. It’s a fantastic development and in line with LGNSW plans under our Save Our Recycling campaign.

“However, we are keen to see the detail of this program. For example, who can apply and what are the requirements for this funding?

“Also, today’s Federal funding announcement includes the requirement for co-funding from State governments and industry. However, we are yet to hear if the NSW Government will commit and on what basis.

“These are absolutely essential issues for local councils and recycling facility operators, who are facing increasing pressure to deal with mounting waste and decreasing landfill space.

“We also support calls for this investment to be accompanied by a commitment to create greater demand for recycled materials through government procurement targets.”

Last year LGNSW released its “At the crossroads: The state of waste and recycling in NSW” report, highlighting the critical level waste management had reached and providing solutions that would see recyclables turned into re-useable product.

“Councils collect and deal with waste and recycling on a weekly basis. It is absolutely critical that any funding arrangements be made in consultation with councils,” Cr Scott said.

“Through our Save Our Recycling campaign, we have been calling on the NSW Government on behalf of councils to reinvest the $800 million it collects annually through its Waste Levy back into a solution to the growing waste management crisis.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW was calling on the NSW Government to:

  • Provide funding to councils to develop regional waste plans and deliver priority infrastructure;
  • Increase procurement of recycled goods made with domestic content and support a circular economy;
  • Deliver statewide education campaigns to promote waste avoidance and recycling; and
  • Introduce producer responsibility schemes for problematic materials.

“Today’s Federal announcement is a critical step forward in dealing with this issue, but much more needs to be done quickly to fix waste management in our State,” Cr Scott said.

“We will continue to work with the NSW Government on behalf of councils to drive these changes.”

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