Council calls for state government action on recycling crisis

Friday, 2 August 2019

Council has voted to escalate its calls for the federal and state governments to take urgent action in response to the current recycling crisis.

After an Urgent Business item raised by Mayor Bruce Harwood during the 30 July council meeting gained the council’s support, the mayor will now issue a series of letters requesting specific actions from the state and federal governments.

These include:

  • A letter to the Federal Minister for the Environment requesting that the Australian Sustainable Packaging Guidelines be mandated as a matter of priority;
  • A letter to the Victorian Premier calling for the state government to introduce a Container Deposit Scheme as a matter of urgency; and
  • A further letter to the Premier calling for the state government to immediately publish guidelines for councils to apply for funding from the State Sustainability Fund that has been established by the EPA Landfill levy.

Council has also requested that City of Greater Geelong CEO Martin Cutter produce a report by September detailing options and costs for alternatives to collect and process recycled materials at the various recycling and recovery centres in Victoria.

Further, Council has noted and given its support to the state government’s announcement that it will develop a Circular Economy Policy and Action Plan, to be released in 2019.

Council has asked that City staff actively promote an opportunity for the Greater Geelong community to provide input into this policy, and prepare a submission to the government.

The measures agreed by Council as part of the Urgent Business item come following recycling contractor SKM Recycling’s announcement on 26 July that it is no longer able to accept materials.

The City has previously endorsed the Municipal Association of Victoria’s ‘Rescue Our Recycling’ Action Plan and is undertaking steps required by local governments.

As stated in Mayor Harwood’s Urgent Business notice, the state government is reported to hold more than half a billion dollars in the Sustainability Fund, which has the potential to fix this crisis – for example, by investing in infrastructure.

Mayor Bruce Harwood:

The current recycling crisis is a state and Australia-wide problem that needs urgent action at all levels of government.

The state government has the ability to make a major impact by investing the huge sum of money in its Sustainability Fund into genuine solutions. This includes releasing money to councils so that we can implement initiatives at a local level.

As the only state in Australia without at least a commitment to a Container Deposit Scheme, the state government must also catch up to the rest of the country by getting this vital measure off the ground as soon as possible. Evidence has shown that Container Deposit Schemes are a highly effective way to recoup plastic, aluminium and glass.

Cr Jim Mason, Deputy Chair, Environment and Sustainability portfolio:

Authorities at a state and national level have been aware of this impending issue for a long time and have not taken appropriate action. We now need them to show genuine leadership, especially in relation to the circular economy.

In particular, we need policies on uses of recycled glass, plastic and rubber and the establishment of viable industries for these products in this country.


Page last updated: Friday, 2 August 2019