The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has welcomed the establishment of three new funds in the Victorian state budget, saying it is looking forward to more detail on how the waste and resource recovery industry can participate.
The Victorian Government’s four-year Recycling Victoria policy will invest more than $300 million into the state’s waste and recovery sector, including 40.9 million to establish recycling infrastructure in regional areas.
The Victorian Budget will invest an unprecedented $1.6 billion to create renewable energy hubs across its regions, the largest investment in clean energy of any state, ever.
The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has labelled the NSW State Budget ‘short sighted’, with the real economic potential of the waste and resource recovery industry being bypassed for a reliance on landfill levies.
The NSW Budget has allocated $96 million, or $240 million over four years, to waste management programs designed to accelerate the state’s circular economy transition.
The Tasmanian Government will invest more than $30 million in waste and resource recovery initiatives as part of its 2020-21 State Budget.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is calling on the state government to fast-track its commitment to fund constructive and future-focused recycling measures in this year’s budget.
LGNSW President Linda Scott said the sector welcomed the government’s long-term proposals to tackle the use of plastics, reduce waste and increase recycling, but increased investment “must start now.”
“The government’s proposed review of the waste levy is great news, but the national waste ban targets designed to reduce waste start on 1 July. There is no time to lose,” she said.
“For two years, councils have been asking for the waste levy (estimated at $800 million this year) to be reinvested for the purposes it is collected.”
According to Ms Scott, this year’s $800 million waste levy should be immediately invested in maintaining and improving kerbside recycling options throughout the state.
“Communities cannot be expected to continue to underwrite the increasing costs associated with our growing waste problems, including increased stockpiles of recyclable waste,” she said.
“The levy needs to be spent on local resource recovery and reprocessing infrastructure projects that can be put in place in this year’s budget to reduce the prospect of stockpiles of rubbish in our streets.”
Ms Scott said a well-funded and coordinated plan that leverages the buying power of all levels of government is a good first step, and long overdue.
“It’s time to rewrite existing regulations and procurement policies, which we know continue to stymy innovation and the development of new recycled products and markets,” she said.
The Queensland 2019-20 budget estimates the state’s new waste levy will raise $432.6 million over the next year.
Commencing 1 July 2019, the levy will apply to most commercial and industrial waste going to landfill – starting at $75 per tonne.
State treasurer Jackie Trad has allocated $30.1 million towards implementing the levy, including funding allocations for levy operation and compliance policy.
An additional $143.5 million has been allocated for grant payments to assist local councils implement the change.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said improving waste management continues to be a priority for state government.
“This year’s budget will see expenditure for key programs funded from the waste levy, including programs to support small businesses and the construction industry to improve their waste practices and further investment in grants for environmental projects,” Ms Enoch said.
The budget has also allocated $5 million towards implementing waste reform, under a new waste management and resource recovery strategy.
The draft waste management and resource recovery strategy, released earlier this year, has set a recycling rate target of 75 per cent for all waste types by 2050.
The strategy allocation includes $4 million to remove car bodies and scrap metal from islands in the Torres Strait and $1 million over two years for the development of a waste management data strategy for Queensland.
Ms Enoch said improving waste data management was a crucial part of implementing waste management reforms in the state.
“The strategy will guide decisions on future waste infrastructure needs and opportunities for investment in resource recovery and recycling,” Ms Enoch said.
The 2019-20 South Australian budget has delivered $12 million over four years to help councils and industry transition from the effects of China’s National Sword Policy.
The Waste and Resource Recovery Modernisation and Council Transition Package aims to boost recycling and resource recovery, and keep waste out of landfill through investment, infrastructure, education and modernisation of council and industry collection services.
Environment Minister David Speirs said through better collection systems, infrastructure and education, South Australia aims to see a 35 per cent reduction in waste sent to landfill by 2020.
Of the $12 million waste management package $10 million will be provided through Green Industries SA.
Councils and industry have been allocated $5.5 million to upgrade and standardise waste collection and recycling services, as well as expand education aimed at improving recycling knowledge in the community.
An allocation of $4 million will also be available to enable investment in modern infrastructure, improve processing, increase efficiency and boost jobs.
An additional $500,000 will be available to help local governments implement new waste management strategies.
“The waste management and resource recovery industry is a major player in South Australia’s economy, with approximately 4800 people employed and we want to this number to grow,” Mr Speirs said.
The EPA has received the remaining $2 million – $1.6 million for compliance and audits to ensure the integrity of the waste and resource recovery sector and $400,000 to enable a review of the state’s container deposit scheme.
Mr Speirs said the package would help councils modernise their waste management practices and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.
“This funding package will lead to less waste sent to landfill, a reduction in emissions and will also provide vital stimulus to our world-leading waste management and resource recovery sector, leading to more than 200 jobs here in South Australia,” Mr Speirs said.
“We know that landfill is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and that councils and industry need to have the tools to divert more for resource recovery and continue moving South Australia towards a truly circular economy.”
Mr Speirs said the funding package comes on top of the $12.4 million support package announced in 2018 to help the recycling industry and local government in response to China’s National Sword Policy.
“China’s National Sword Policy has provided the industry with a challenge, but this funding package on top of support already provided in last year’s state budget will help modernise and transition our resource recovery sector.”
The 2019-20 Victorian budget has injected $35 million into the waste and resource recovery industry, using funds raised from the municipal and industrial landfill levy.
According to the offical budget website, proceeds from the levy are first used to fund core activities of environmental agencies, with the remaining balance going towards the sustainability fund.
The budget has allocated an additional $68.8 million in levy proceeds including $15 million to strengthen the EPA, $30 million for the Lara stockpile site rehabilitation and $3.7 million to combat illegal stockpiling and hazardous waste mismanagement.
Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan said Victoria was leading the way in its financial commitment to assisting the waste industry in developing markets.
“It’s been more than 18 months since China implemented its National Sword policy and its impacts, along with other ongoing challenges, have brought to the fore the need to build and grow domestic remanufacturing,” Ms Sloan said.
“This week’s $35 million announcement is on top of the almost $37 million Victoria provided to industry in 2018 in the wake of China.”
Ms Sloan said developing a sustainable remanufacturing base was dependant on robust government regulation, and policy that supports market development and demand for recycled material.
“With the recent appointment of two federal ministers in the environment portfolio, including for the first time an assistant minister for waste reduction, WMRR is hopeful that Australia will finally have the much-needed national coordination and leadership it requires to grow its domestic remanufacturing sector and develop a consistent policy approach,” Ms Sloan said.
“We know that for every 10,000 tonnes of product recycled we create 9.2 jobs, so this is good news for Victoria.”
Ms Sloan said it was an exciting time to be working in the waste and resource recovery industry.
“WMRR looks forward to continuing its positive collaboration with the Victorian Government, as it fixes and builds its essential waste and resource recovery industry to create a circular economy and build a local remanufacturing industry,” Ms Sloan said.
“We will continue to work closely with Victoria’s leaders to provide feedback and input on the projects, policies, and investment priorities that will drive the sector forward.”