The National Waste Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has issued a statement of support for the Coalition’s proposed waste and recycling policy.
NWRIC CEO Rose Read said the Coalition’s recent policy announcement would help facilitate a cleaner environment for all Australians.
“The announcement reveals a federal election which has seen the biggest tri-partisan commitment to waste and recycling in Australian history,” Ms Read said.
“The Coalition’s promises follow equally welcome commitments by the Labor Party and the Greens.”
Ms Read highlighted the Coalition’s $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund, Product Stewardship Investment Fund, $20 million investment in new and innovative solutions to plastic recycling and commitment to continue working with state, territory and local governments on opportunities to get more recycled content into road construction.
Ms Read said while party commitments vary in focus and values, the lead up to the election has seen a recognition of the waste and recycling challenges facing Australia.
“This is welcome news for all Australians because irrespective of who they vote for, they all put their bins out,” Ms Read said.
“Furthermore industry’s priorities are clear, more jobs, better services and less pollution – there is really nothing to disagree with about delivering this essential community service.”
NWRIC is concerned however about the lack of targets for government procurement of recycled goods, incentives to producers to increase recycled content in their products and packaging or willingness to drive state harmonisation of waste regulations and levies.
“Having six states and two territories enforcing different laws, levies and standards limits industry investment in innovative waste management and resource recovery infrastructure and services essential to building a circular economy,” Ms Read said.
“Good policy combined with funding is the key to effective outcomes and greater certainty for industry investment.”
Ms Read said for the proposed Product Stewardship investment to achieve meaningful outcomes, it must be underpinned by smart, simple regulations that create a level playing field and ensure full producer engagement.
“The National Waste Recycling Industry Council is calling for the appointment of a National Waste Commissioner to drive these necessary reforms and a tri-partisan approach to harmonising the regulations framing our industry,” Ms Read said.
“This process has been a clear success for work health and safety and heavy vehicle laws.”
Ms Read said every household and business in Australia purchases waste services and most purchase recycling services.
“The Commonwealth can cut costs for all Australians and stimulate industry investment by driving collaboration between states, industry and producers and essential regulatory reforms,” Ms Read said.
“It is critical that whichever party wins the upcoming federal election that they work proactively with industry to create jobs, serve communities, protect workers and reduce pollution.”
Earlier in the election cycle NWRIC similarly praised Labor’s policy commitments, specifically noting the development of a national container deposit scheme, National Waste Commissioner and the $60 million investment in a National Recycling Fund.