SKM’s closure could cost councils millions unless Government acts now

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have called on the Government to guarantee kerbside recycling collection in light of SKM’s imminent closure.

When four of SKM’s plants closed for several weeks earlier this year, it cost the affected councils $1.7 million, according to PBO data obtained by the Victorian Greens.

The data also found that China’s decision to block certain kinds of recycling and waste from Australia has also cost councils an additional $38 million over the past year.

Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Dr Tim Read, has called on the Government to work in partnership with local councils to ensure kerbside recycling collection if they can’t immediately find a company to take over from SKM.

The Government must use the $500 million raised from their landfill levy to address this crisis.

The Government must also introduce a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), to ensure recyclables are sorted and not sent to landfill, and invest in a state-wide recycling industry. The Government has twice voted against a Greens CDS bill in parliament.

As stated by Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Dr Tim Read:

“It would be an absolute disaster if kerbside recycling collections failed across half of Victoria. The Government must give Victorians confidence that the containers we put in the recycling bin don’t go to landfill. They must guarantee the jobs and the trucks keep going.

“The last time SKM temporarily shut down a handful of its plants it cost councils $1.7 million and with the company now going under, councils could be facing a much greater bill unless the Government acts now.

“The Andrews Government needs to stop blocking a national scheme and introduce cash for containers. It’s a major part of the solution to this crisis and yet Victoria is the only state or territory without one.

“The Government also needs to invest in a state-wide recycling industry to ensure this never happens again.

“If SKM has taught us anything it’s that we can’t rely on individual companies to do the right thing. The government needs to provide proper oversight and leadership on reforms. Instead they have taken a careless set and forget approach for years, causing this recycling crisis.

“It’s time for Victoria to stop burying its head in the waste and finally take action.”

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