If elected, Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) will invest $50 million to build a new wave of roads from recycled plastic waste, including bottles and bags.
Announcing her plan to make Queensland the “Recycling State”, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said her government would invest in developing recycling technology and creating new green industries.
“More than 80 per cent of road asphalt can be made from recycled products and Cleveland already has a one-kilometre green road,” she said.
“The LNP’s $50 million trial will increase green road construction and develop new guidelines for future road-building projects.”
Redlands City Council worked with a local recycling firm to resurface a one-kilometre stretch of road in Cleveland in 2019.
According to Frecklington, the LNP will also partner with business to launch Australia’s first solar panel recycling plant.
“Without future action, more than 100,000 tonnes of solar panels are predicted to enter Australia’s waste stream by 2035,” she said.
“The LNP will initiate a reverse auction to establish a solar panel recycling facility in Queensland, delivering a new capability for the state and ensuring value for taxpayers.”
Frecklington said an LNP Government would also expand recovery facilities and launch a public education campaign to reduce e-waste going into landfill, before legislating a ban on the practice by 2024.
She added that the LNP will fast-track planning approvals for new recycling infrastructure, and work with Queensland universities to establish “centres of recycling excellence.”
“The LNP’s recycling plan will create jobs and protect our environment,” Frecklington said.
“Building green roads and recycling solar panels will help get Queenslanders back to work.”
Waste, Recycling Industry Association QLD (WRIQ) CEO Mark Smith welcomed the LNP’s announcements.
“We are vital to Queensland’s growth and success. It’s great to see the LNP’s recognition of the untapped potential of our sector,” he said.
“WRIQ’s election manifesto identifies the importance of market certainty to build business confidence. State government’s role in policy creation and procurement is central to this.”
WRIQ’s Queensland Election Manifesto, released early September, outlines four pillars to build a safe, smart and sustainable waste and resource recovery sector.
The manifesto advocates for a separation of the regulatory role, and industry policy and development roles of the Department of Environment and Science, and calls on the government to invest a greater share of state’s landfill levy back into communities that are housing vital waste and recycling infrastructure.
“E-waste and solar panels are a growing waste challenge and something that must be tackled, to retain value of the material, support a circular economy and reduce hazardous material ending up in landfills,” Smith said.
He added that there is a need for a resetting of the relationship between business and government around waste and recycling investments and infrastructure.
“We need to create policies and regulate for the future,” Smith said.
“A key element to build business confidence in Queensland relates to the relationship business has with the regulator and this needs to improve.”
Furthermore, Smith highlighted the importance of building social licence with the Queensland community.
“This is a shared responsibility with the government. Our social licence enables new services to be rolled out, supports good waste and recycling behaviours and supports the state government’s plans for a safer, stronger and more sustainable sector,” he said.
The Queensland election is set to take place 31 October, with early voting opening 19th October.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said a re-elected Palaszczuk Government would develop a climate action plan, setting out how the state will meet targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The state government has targets to cut emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and have half of the state’s electricity generated from renewables by the same year.
In late September, the Palaszczuk Government awarded nearly $27 million to recycling projects.
According to State Treasurer Cameron Dick, the funding will see more than 957,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill each year, and result in $126 million in additional capital investment from industry.
“By reusing materials, the resource recovery industry directly contributes at least $830 million to the Queensland economy – turning rubbish into economic prosperity and jobs,” he said.