The Western Australian Government has allocated $30 million in infrastructure grants funding to support the implementation of the Council of Australian Governments’ forthcoming waste export bans.
A further $5 million worth of industrial land will also be provided for projects that can help boost the domestic processing of plastics, tyres and mixed paper and cardboard.
The funding forms part of the Western Australian Government’s 2020-21 State Budget, which has handed down by Treasurer Ben Wyatt 8 October.
The budget notes a projected surplus of $1.2 billion in 2020-21, and fully funds the $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan announced in July this year.
As part of the WA Recovery Plan, $60.3 million will be invested in the state’s Green Jobs Plan over the next three years.
The plan also includes a $10 million investment in the Clean Energy Future Fund to support clean energy projects in Western Australia, in addition to $9.3 million previously announced.
“Western Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has positioned the economy to rebound faster and stronger than first expected, with the State Budget revealing the local economy is expected to grow by 1.25 per cent in 2020-21,” Wyatt said.
“In 2019-20, Western Australia was the only state to record positive growth in the domestic economy, despite the significant impact of the pandemic.”
According to Wyatt, Western Australia has benefited from the strength of its resources sector, with investment and production largely unaffected throughout the pandemic.
“Employment is also tracking strongly after the initial impact of COVID-19 forced many parts of the economy to close resulting in job losses,” Wyatt said.
“While there is still more work to be done, the state recorded its largest ever monthly fall in unemployment in August.”
The budget highlights the state government’s $4.7 million commitment to the newly launched container deposit scheme, which has created more than 600 jobs in processing, transporting and recycling containers.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the scheme is expected to divert an additional 6.6 billion containers from landfill and litter over the next 20 years.
“The scheme demonstrates the state government’s dedication to positive environmental outcomes and to the Western Australian community to deliver the nation’s most diverse and accessible cash-for-containers incentives,” he said.
A $56 million investment in other waste recovery and education initiatives over the last three years has included grants to support recycling infrastructure and programs which improve the recovery and reuse of waste.
“The state government is committed to reducing waste and continues to implement key strategies to improve recycling and reduce the impact of waste on our environment,” Dawson said.
He added that the state governments is also continuing its efforts to streamline environmental assessments and approvals.
“The $28 million Environment Online initiative led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and a $7.7 million funding commitment to the new Biodiversity Information Office will assist in the state’s post-pandemic recovery by minimising delays to major project approvals,” Dawson said.