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Waste and recycling strategy for Knox

Wednesday 11 September 2019

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and the action I seek is for the minister to ensure that there is a viable and long-term sustainable waste and recycling strategy for the Knox community.

I have received some very concerning correspondence from the mayor of the City of Knox, Cr Jake Keogh, in which the council have requested advocacy by members of Parliament on behalf of their residents regarding waste and recycling matters concerning the Knox community.

Council actually went to the effort of calling a special council meeting and passed a motion which puts forward a request for the state government to work with industry to increase the sorting capacities of various facilities; to provide leadership between all levels of government, industry, business and the community to deliver solutions and actions to strengthen and provide sustainability to their recycling system; to provide positive action towards a circular economy for waste and recycling; to strengthen the recycling industry to provide high levels of transparency in order to support future recyclables disposal contracts; and not to apply the landfill levy to the disposal of recyclables to landfill, particularly where councils do not have a viable alternative or a contract in place.

Some of the reasoning behind the concerns raised by the Knox City Council include insufficient infrastructure and recycling processing services in Victoria, which has resulted in recent service capacity issues, including recycling going to landfill.

The government needs to show strong leadership and deliver a whole-of-government approach as the waste and resource recovery sector is impacted by numerous government portfolios, not just the environment portfolio.

The portfolios of regional development; jobs, innovation and trade; roads; small business; training and skills; and energy, environment and climate change are all impacted in some way or another. Sustainable procurement principles and practices need to be reviewed and implemented across all levels of government. Consumers need more information about what happens to their recycling.

They need to know about the various types of material that can be recycled, where their recycled materials end up and what the future use of their recycled materials could be.

I think very strong leadership on this could be shown by purchasing products such as those made by Replas, which is converting recyclable products into plastic furniture and the like which is used around the state. Knox City Council has taken the extraordinary action of writing to members of Parliament and calling for advocacy on their behalf—on behalf of ratepayers—to the government to take action, to show leadership and to do something about this important crisis that is affecting us with regard to waste and recycling as it affects residents in Knox and across the state.

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