What the Federal Budget means for the waste sector

What the Federal Budget means for the waste sector

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed a $249m boost for the waste and recycling industry as part of the Federal Budget announcement on Tuesday evening,  in the hopes of stopping more than 600,000 tonnes of waste ending up in landfill and also creating industry jobs.

The highly anticipated Federal Budget document has laid out the Morrison Government’s investment in the waste and recycling sector as part of Australia’s Economic Recovery Plan in response to COVID-19.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the 2020-21 Budget will deliver key outcomes in transforming the nation’s waste industry.

“The Morrison Government is the first Federal Government to place waste firmly on the national agenda,” Ley said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“Our $249.6 million investment will drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.”

Ley said thousands of jobs will be created within industry over the next 10 years through initiatives such as the new Recycling Modernisation Fund, the National Waste Action Plan, national waste data systems and the implementation of the waste export ban.

$1.3 BILLION MODERN MANUFACTURING PLAN 

Ahead of the Budget on Tuesday October 6, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $1.5 billion in new funding will be invested over the next four years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

“Through this Strategy, we are determined to ensure government, industry and the research and education sectors are all working in the one direction to build scale in our manufacturing sector,” he said.

Recycling and clean energy manufacturing is recognised as a National Manufacturing Priority “which reflect Australia’s established competitive advantages or emerging areas of priority”.

“This plan is built on the JobMaker platform of enabling our manufacturing businesses to be globally competitive through cheaper and more reliable energy,” Frydenberg said in his budget speech on Tuesday evening.

Prior to the budget announcement, Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) has been work closely with all governments, advocating for sharper focus and action on building domestic remanufacturing, supporting secondary end markets.

“Resource recovery industry can play a crucial role in driving economic recovery post-pandemic and in the process, create new jobs and industries such as remanufacturing and industrial redesign while increasing its positive impact in protecting human health and the environment, including mitigating carbon emissions. This continued commitment to our industry will have multiple positive touch points for a long time to come,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

INVESTMENT TO MODERNISE RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE  

“This Budget builds on the investments we made in last year’s Budget, with an additional $1.8 billion in funding for the environment,” Frydenberg said.

“Mr Speaker, by recycling more waste we can also create jobs.”

The Morrison Government is banning the export of plastic, paper, tyres and glass waste.

In the words of the Prime Minister: ‘it’s our waste, it’s our responsibility’.

Frydenberg highlighted a key sector priority is the government’s 250 million investment to “modernise our recycling infrastructure, stop more than 600,000 tonnes of waste ending up in landfill and by doing so help to create a further 10,000 jobs”.

WAGE SUBSIDIES IF YOU HIRE YOUNG JOB-SEEKERS 

Waste and recycling businesses that hire unemployed young people will be given access to wage subsidies from the federal government.

“Starting tonight, there will be a new JobMaker hiring credit to encourage businesses to hire younger Australians,” Frydenberg said.

The JobMaker hiring credit will be payable for up to twelve months and immediately available to employers who hire those on JobSeeker aged 16-35.

It will be paid at the rate of $200 per week for those aged under 30, and $100 per week for those aged between 30-35.

Treasury estimates that this will support around 450,000 jobs for young people and contribute to filling the 10,000 jobs will be created within the waste and recycling industry over the next 10 years due to initiatives such as the new Recycling Modernisation Fund and the National Waste Action Plan.

INVESTMENT RESPONSE 

A range of Federal Budget funding announcements will help NSW councils drive a locally led economic recovery – but there is still more to do, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said today.

“Local government recognises the pressure on federal funds and there is still a lot in the Budget that will directly benefit councils and the communities they serve,” Cr Scott said.

Cr Scott welcomed the announcement of $190 million to kickstart the Recycling Modernisation Fund – designed to complement state funding for new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture waste.

“Building a circular economy with homegrown waste solutions is a critical component of LGNSW’s Save Our Recycling campaign, and I would urge the NSW Government to come to the party through the use of the $800 million Waste Levy collected each year,” she said.

The Greens said the Budget fails to invest in a green recovery.

Greens Treasury and Economic Justice spokesperson, Senator Nick McKim is calling for further investment in renewable energy.

“We need a Green New Deal to get to full employment, tackle the climate crisis and reduce inequality,” he said.

On the flip side, Commonwealth Bank Australia Chief Economist Stephen Halmarick said small businesses within the sector are of benefit to this year’s budget.

“A central plank of the Budget and a core part of the new “Jobmaker” measures is the ability of almost all Australian business (those with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 billion) to deduct the full cost of eligible capital assets,” he said.

“This is a significant extension of the previous asset write-off provisions designed to kick start business investment. The new scheme kicks in immediately (as at 7.30pm on 6 October 2020) and covers a period through to 30 June 2022.”

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