Adjournment- Waste and Recycling Management

7 Mar 2019

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My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and the action I seek is for the minister to fix the recycling crisis and do it using the $500 million that is sitting in the Sustainability Fund for this very purpose. In the Prahran electorate residents are doing the right thing but their recycling is being sent to landfill. In the City of Port Phillip residents have sent around 400 tonnes of recyclables to landfill. Stonnington has also been affected; their recycling is going to landfill. It is absolutely unacceptable. The government has seen this crisis coming with the ban on low-quality recyclables going to China and the build-up of dangerous material across Melbourne. It is not good enough for the government to keep blaming China, local governments and private companies without taking responsibility.

This is a crisis, but it is also an incredible opportunity to do what the government should have been doing already—that is, create a recycling industry here in Victoria with jobs along the way, implement the ban on plastic bags they promised to do two years ago I think, going further and banning unnecessary plastic packaging, introduce a container deposit scheme which we know has widespread support across the community and introduce—and this is one of my favourites—kerbside organic recycling, which is really important particularly for people living in apartments. The Greens motion for a parliamentary inquiry into the waste crisis succeeded in the other place, so that inquiry will be up. I am sure there are a lot of councils, individuals and organisations that will be very keen to submit to that inquiry to look at solutions. In fact just before this speech I saw that the Municipal Association of Victoria has put out their ‘Rescue our recycling: proposed action plan’, with actions for the Victorian government, local government and even the federal government.

As part of their actions for the Victorian government they have got ‘Invest in recycling infrastructure’, ‘Fund and support market development’, ‘Introduce a container deposit scheme’, ‘Bolster community education’ and ‘Strengthen industry oversight board/regulation’. These are terrific ideas, and I would certainly encourage the government to take up these actions now to fix this crisis. I encourage organisations, people and councils who are interested in this, or passionate about this, to submit to the inquiry.

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