The Federal Government has allocated $7 million towards recycling in regional and remote Australia as it continues to create jobs and help the environment by turbocharging the country’s waste and recycling industry.
Minister for the environment Sussan Ley said the funding will help build new or expand existing recycling facilities to deal with waste glass, plastics, tyres and paper in remote and regional areas, and help tackle the city-country imbalance when it comes to recycling opportunities.
“I come from a regional area that is very progressive when it comes to waste and recycling, but there are just over 630,000 Australians who do not have access to any form of kerbside recycling,” Ley said.
“Regional and remote communities often face unique challenges but that doesn’t make recycling any less important, and it doesn’t change the fact that people want the chance to do the right thing for the environment.
“We are prepared to invest in that opportunity through projects that provide local solutions to local problems, that increase local employment, provide economic benefit, and solve transport logistics complexities.
“They could range from community sorting stations to AI technology and have a co-investment value from $10,000 to $1 million.”
The funding, under the Recycling Modernisation Fund, will be in addition to the 23 projects that have already been identified in regional and remote Australia through joint funding with State Governments.
The assistant minister for waste reduction and environmental management, Trevor Evans, said the Government recognises the constraints on waste collection, sorting and processing faced by communities where kerbside collection is not feasible.
“However, a key aim of the Recycling Modernisation Fund is to introduce new and innovative technology to significantly increase Australia’s recycling rates. For example, in NSW we recently funded new mini factories to process glass, mattresses and e-waste into tiles and 3D printer filament in the Shoalhaven area,” Evans said.
“We know that what drives improvement in cities is different to remote, regional and rural areas. There are different economies of scale that will require different technical solutions and it will be exciting to see what they will be.
The Federal Government is also working with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to explore and develop waste collection partnerships in regional and remote areas, including potentially collaborating with other product stewardship schemes.
It has also provided $114,000 to the Waste Recycling Industry Association of the Northern Territory (WRINT) to assess the status of legacy waste in Territory regions.
This is in addition to the $150,000 provided to Regional Development Australia–Tropical North (RDA-TN) to assess the viability of a plastics recycling, collection, processing and manufacturing hub in Far North Queensland.
Together, the Federal Government said it is driving a $1 billion transformation of the country’s waste and recycling industry, which is expected to create 10,000 new jobs over the next ten years.