In response to repeated calls from local governments across NSW to secure the future of recycling, a raft of State Government proposals to tackle the use of plastics, reduce waste and pollution and increase recycling in NSW offered a constructive and future-focused approach, the sector’s peak body said today.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the proposals were both far-ranging and far-sighted, offering smart and innovative state-based solutions to Australia’s growing waste and recycling crisis.
Cr Scott was speaking after Premier Gladys Berejiklian today released two discussion papers: the NSW Plastics Plan and 20 Year Waste Strategy.
“Together, NSW local governments have been campaigning to save recycling since 2018 – and it is clear Environment Minister Matt Kean and the Premier have not only listened, but heard our call,” she said.
“For two years councils have been asking for the Waste Levy to be reinvested for the purpose it is collected, and the Premier’s announcement that this levy will now be reviewed is very welcome news.
“Joining with the Commonwealth to fund council-led waste and recycling infrastructure proposals will help ensure our waste is managed more sustainably, creating jobs in NSW.
“Steps to reduce waste, including banning plastic bags in 2021, and subsequently a range of other plastics, will play a critical role in helping to create a circular economy.
“Increasing state and local government procurement of recycled goods, while leveraging off existing procurement platforms, is long overdue.
“Local governments are also very supportive of state-wide education campaigns so everyone is able to do their bit to reduce waste and increase recycling.
“These State Government proposals score a 10-out-of-10 with local government, and have the full support of councils in NSW.
“Now, we need to see funding and action.”
LGNSW’s Save Our Recycling Campaign, originally launched in 2018, called on the State Government to reinvest the annual $800 million NSW Waste Levy to:
- allow councils 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.
“Councils firmly believe waste should be considered a product, not a problem,” Cr Scott said.
“We’re very grateful that Premier Berejiklian and Minister Kean, along with the Environment Protection Authority, have considered the issues very carefully and proposed a comprehensive approach that will stand our state in very good stead for the future.
“The challenge we must all now face together is to ensure these proposals are implemented on an ongoing basis, and these proposals aren’t allowed to wither on the vine.”