The Essential Services Commission will review waste and recycling services in Victoria to assess whether they should be regulated as an essential service like water and energy.
A further review of the landfill levy will also be conducted, to consider the current and future effectiveness of the initiative as an economic instrument for influencing waste management practices.
A $14.3 million Recycling Industry Development Fund has been established, targeting secondary processing infrastructure for priority materials such as paper, cardboard and plastics.
A $13.8 million program to provide incentives for new entrants to the Victorian recycling market has also been announced.
The Victorian Government announced the review in conjunction with a new $34.9 million package of recycling reforms.
Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) Executive Officer Mark Smith welcomed the review.
“The VWMA welcomes consultation by the Essential Service Commission, with us and our members,” Mr Smith says.
“Grants can be great, but are not always the best method to support private investment. I’d like to see funding bodies exploring new ways for business to access funds, and this shouldn’t result in business competing with local government.”
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the review will help create a more stable and productive recycling sector.
“It’s more important than ever to minimise the amount of waste we produce and ensure we’re recycling as many items as possible,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
She said the new initiatives are an important step in planning for the future of the waste and recycling industry.
“The package will provide support to Victorian councils when it comes to negotiating new contracts for recycling services, helping to improve business performance and put better contingency plans in place,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.