WASTE AND RECYCLING MANAGEMENT.
Thursday, 21 March 2019.
Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (17:11):
My adjournment matter this afternoon is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and the action I seek is for the Minister to provide a written update to me on what concrete plans the state government has to deal with Victoria’s recycling future.
As you know, there has been a recycling crisis gripping Victoria. The clock started ticking when China decided that it would no longer accept our recyclable waste. Despite the increasing urgency, we did little at a state level to develop infrastructure and prepare us for the inevitable crunch. That crunch hit in February.
In February the stockpiles of recyclable material became dire. As a result the government authority charged with environment protection ordered that recyclable stock be thrown into general landfill.
Victorians are champions of sustainability. That is why it is a national disgrace that the state government has sat on its hands and done little to develop infrastructure that could support the sustainability of recyclables.
As at 12 March, I am advised, Port Phillip council had diverted almost 658 tonnes of recyclables to landfill at a cost of $79000. Elwood, which falls into Port Phillip council, is part of my electorate. Elwood residents are incredibly concerned about the environment and are leaders in sustainability matters.
The remainder of my electorate falls into Bayside council. Although they are not affected, I understand that Bayside currently collects, on average, 210tonnes of recyclables per week. With the landfill levy at $64.30per tonne, a similar diversion would cost Bayside approximately $13500per week. In addition to the landfill levy, fees of $18000per week would also be payable by Bayside to dispose of recyclables to landfill.
Residents across my electorate are overwhelmingly frustrated by the recycling crisis. They want to know how we as a state will get ourselves out of this mess. I am yet to hear a whimper from the government that sounds even remotely like a solution.
Residents in my community want to know that their policymakers value sustainability. Residents constantly ask me what the government is doing to invest in waste-to-energy technologies.
They have also asked me repeatedly why the Premier has trialled initiatives in other policy areas but does not support trialling environmental policies, like a container deposit scheme, that would help sustain our environment.
These are valid questions from my constituents.
Some $500million has been paid by Victorian households and businesses as a bin tax to increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill, money that just sits in the government’s bank account.
It is time to do something. It is time to move forward and plan for a sustainable future. I look forward to the minister’s response.