The Andrews Labor Government today released its circular economy strategy – Recycling Victoria – a 10-year plan that will completely overhaul Victoria’s recycling sector, create 3,900 jobs and reduce waste going to landfill.
The more than $300 million package brings together a suite of landmark reforms, dedicated to shifting Victoria to a circular economy, including a statewide four-bin recycling system, a container deposit scheme and nearly $100 million to support businesses, drive innovation and create local jobs.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced today that the strategy also includes $71.4 million to tackle waste crime and keep Victorians safe, with more resources to stop illegal dumping and stockpiling, and deal with high-risk sites and high-risk substances.
A dedicated Waste Crime Prevention Inspectorate will be established within the Environment Protection Authority, which will work closely with WorkSafe Victoria, emergency service agencies, councils and other regulators to improve information sharing and coordination, and keep our state safe.
Recycling Victoria will also set ambitious new goals for improved recycling and recovery in Victoria, including reducing our reliance on landfill with a diversion target of 80 per cent. These targets will create investment certainty for businesses, while promoting jobs and growth in the industry.
To measure progress accurately, Victoria will change the way we collect waste and recycling data. We will establish a new and dedicated data system to provide reliable information on the flow of recycled materials.
The Government will also provide $14.6 million to support local projects that boost recycling, reduce littering and take advantage of economic opportunites to reduce waste, particularly in regional communities. A further $1.8 million will be provided to support charities in handling waste from charitable donations.
These announcements are part of a suite of comprehensive measures outlined in the plan to better collect and sort recyclable materials, and better use them in new products, including:
- a new four-bin household recycling system to separate recyclables, glass, food and organics, and waste
- a container deposit scheme to be developed in consultation with councils and industry and begin by 2023
- a statewide education program to help households, businesses and councils transition to the new system
- the doubling of funding for businesses to invest in infrastructure to sort and process recyclables
- new grants to make Victoria a leader in recycling innovation
- new grants to help business reduce waste and increase recycling in their daily operations
- funding for waste-to-energy initiatives, recognising its role in an integrated waste recovery system
- a Business Innovation Centre to develop new, innovative technology and solutions to waste problems
- support to target hazardous waste and protect the community from dangerous chemical stockpiles.
To ensure consistency across the state, the Labor Government will also make waste collection an essential service and establish a new dedicated authority to better govern our recycling system.
To support our recycling reforms and provide a stronger incentive to invest in new waste technologies, the Government will progressively increase the landfill levy over coming years to bring it into line with other states.
Victoria’s landfill levy is significantly lower than our neighbouring states, meaning Victoria is too often used as a dumping ground for waste coming from New South Wales and South Australia.
The change reflects an agreement reached by state and territory Treasurers to work towards the harmonisation of landfill levies and will provide a strong incentive to reduce and recycle waste, and drive innovation in new waste technologies.
A circular economy – which emphasises using less to make more – represents a fundamental shift in our approach to waste, and comes in the wake of global disruptions to recycling markets.
The Recycling Victoria package builds on the $135 million the Labor Government has already invested in waste and recycling.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“This is the largest package of recycling reforms and investment in Victoria’s history.”
“It will revolutionise household recycling, drive business innovation and create jobs of the future. Most importantly, it will give Victorians a truly circular economy and recycling system they can rely on.”
“For too long, waste crime has undermined Victoria’s recycling sector with dangerous and illegal stockpiling. Our investment will help to clean up the industry and make it fairer for businesses that do the right thing.”