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Environment Ministers’ statement must be backed with investment and action

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has welcomed commitments from Commonwealth and State Environment Ministers to address the current recycling challenges.

MAV CEO Rob Spence said a sustainable path for Australia’s recycling industry required concerted action by industry and all three levels of government.

“We are pleased to see a range of commitments by Federal and State Ministers, including endorsement of a target for 100 per cent of packaging to be recycled, composted or reused by 2025.

“The meeting of Ministers also acknowledged the need for greater industry leadership, which we support alongside strong oversight from the Commonwealth to ensure the target can be met by 2025 or earlier.

“The commitment to increase our recycling capacity will require development of the recycling conversion industry and creation of new markets for recycled material.

“This can only be achieved with further investment and the right policy settings by both Federal and State governments.

“We also welcome the proposal for new initiatives to increase consumer awareness and education. Reducing the current contamination rates is critical for the future success of our recycling industry.”

Mr Spence also said that local government was excited about the potential opportunity that waste to energy technologies presents, but warned the waste hierarchy should be used as the guiding principle for how waste is managed.

“In order to achieve the best environmental outcomes, the primary goal should be waste avoidance, followed by reuse and recycling.

“Energy recovery cannot and should not be allowed to become an excuse for diverting our efforts and investment away from waste reduction and improved resource recovery.

“We will be looking to the May budgets of both the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to fund the commitments made today by Environment Ministers.

“Taking action to overcome the current recycling crisis facing Australia is too important to wait for another budget cycle.

“At the local level, the MAV anticipates many councils will have to increase their waste charges to cover a rise in recycling contract costs from 1 July.

“This is likely to equate to about $1 more in council rates per household per week – around $50 extra per year - in addition to the State-imposed rate cap which cannot exceed 2.25 per cent,” he said.

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Contact MAV CEO, Rob Spence on 0418 132 573 or MAV Communications on 9667 5521.