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Response to recycling & waste Parliamentary inquiry report

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has welcomed the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry report on recycling and waste management, noting strong alignment between the recommendations and local government’s Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan released earlier this year.

We strongly support a number of findings and recommendations in the report including the need for state-wide education campaigns, investment in recycling facilities in regional areas, research and development for end uses of recycled content, and greater oversight of the waste industry.

We acknowledge the Committee’s finding that contamination in kerbside recycling is an issue. In recommending options for possible kerbside bin reforms, the Committee is right to highlight the critical need for State funding and support.

These changes are complex, costly and involve more than just behaviour change. For kerbside collection reforms to be worthwhile, significant investment in infrastructure and market development is needed to improve Victoria’s capacity to process materials and ensure there are buyers for the end products.

As the only Australian state yet to introduce or commit to a container deposit scheme (CDS), we welcome the recommendation that the Victorian Government consider introduction of a scheme.

As noted in the report, there is strong community and industry support for a CDS in Victoria.

Cr Coral Ross, MAV President said the inquiry report recommended actions for all levels of government and had clearly identified the need for significantly more public and private investment in our waste and resource recovery system.

“We welcome the inquiry finding that governments must focus more on the important issue of how we can avoid generating waste in the first place.

“Recycling is often viewed as a panacea that can make any level of consumption sustainable. This thinking needs to change.

“As the committee has highlighted, State funding will be critical to minimise cost of living pressures on households. Expanded kerbside bin collections and proposed landfill levy increases will mean higher costs.

“If kerbside recycling reforms are to be implemented as the inquiry report has proposed, it will require a much closer working relationship between State and local government. Strong end markets for materials are also essential to make any kerbside collection reforms worthwhile.

“We are pleased the Committee has also recommended consideration of a container deposit scheme. Victorians are passionate recyclers and want to be part of the solution. That’s why 92 per cent have said they want a scheme according to a recent Infrastructure Victoria report.

“These schemes are popular for good reason. They increase recycling rates, reduce litter and they’re funded by the producers and consumers of goods, so they are a fairer system too.

“It is time for Victoria to catch up with the rest of the country,” she said.

Contact Cr Coral Ross on 0438 005 225 or MAV Communications on (03) 9667 5521.