Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson wants this year’s Local Government NSW Conference (LGNSW) to call on the State Government to allow Councils to use the waste levy imposed on them to fund domestic markets for Australia’s waste.
Below is the full resolution to Councillor Matson’s “Financially stimulating the emergence of an effective waste recycling industry in NSW” motion (seconded Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey) that he successfully put to the Randwick City Council meeting of the 27th August 2019:
That NSWLG continues to note the limited domestic recycling options available in Australia for waste products as a result of the declining international market and responds by liaising with the NSW State Government to establish a fair and reasonable formula for the redirection of the Government’s share of the domestic waste levy back to Councils to enable Councils to:
- Offset the procurement of NSW products manufactured from waste materials;
- Maintain momentum in meeting the State Governments’ increased recycling rates and landfill diversion targets set under its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-2021;
- Financially stimulate the establishment of a commercial waste recycling venture in both their own LGAs and through partnerships with other urban, regional and rural Councils; and
- Assist rural based Councils in overcoming logistical and transport barriers in the recycling of local industrial and agricultural waste materials.
NSW Councils Could Help Grow an Effective Domestic Waste Recycling Industry
The NSW state government’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-2021 includes the following targets relevant to local Councils (source: EPA)
• Increasing recycling rates to
o 70% for municipal solid waste
o 70% for commercial and industrial waste
o 80% for construction and demolition waste
• Increasing waste diverted from landfill to 75%
Achieving these targets might easier if individual Councils were allowed to partner with and financially encourage the emergence of domestic recycling industries. A recent ABC article on the budding emergence of a domestic plastic recycling industry servicing agriculture suggests that suggests that such a solution it is possible. (Source: Recyclers tackle growing farm waste problem with innovative plastic products ABC 30-6-2019). Key points were:
• 12 per cent of plastic used in Australia is recycled.
• Recyclers say Australia has been lazy about developing end products for plastic waste.
• Australian farmers are finding creative ways to recycle plastic into products such as fence posts.
“Stephen Richards has an ambitious plan to build 26 resin factories which he says will have the capacity to turn all of Australia’s agricultural plastic waste into products.” (Source: Recyclers tackle growing farm waste problem with innovative plastic products ABC 30-6-2019)
Is The Financial Stimulation of Domestic Waste Recycling Ventures a Valid Involvement for Councils?
The Local Government Act 1993 states ecologically sustainable development requires the effective integration of economic and environmental considerations in decision-making processes. The Integrated Planning and Reporting framework also requires councils to address social, environmental, economic and civic leadership (the quadruple bottom line) issues in an integrated way. (Source LGNSW Statement 11 “Sustainability Position Statement Fundamental Principles)
Clause 12.5 of LGNSW’s Local Government NSW Waste Position Statement (Policy Platform Updated June 2019) advocates for: “Creation of viable end markets to drive demand for Australian recycled content through sustainable procurement.”
LGNSW Position Statement 11 “Sustainability Position Statement Fundamental Principles.”
The association states this relates to the two Fundamental Principles of LGNSW: (F) Environment and (G) Social and Community. Under policy statement 11.5 LGNSW states that it advocates for “reduced waste to landfill” and “stimulating markets for innovative and more sustainable products”.
11.5 Commitment to sustainable procurement to drive quadruple bottom line outcomes across local government functions and services including improved efficiency, reduced waste to landfill, financial savings, stimulating markets for innovative and more sustainable products, social responsibility, supporting local communities and businesses and helping to achieve long term environmental and social objectives. (Source: LGNSW’s Local Government NSW Waste Position Statement)
The NSW Waste Levee – the Obvious Funding Source For Councils
“In New South Wales, they impose a waste levy on councils and industry where they raise over $750 million each and every year, and only 18 per cent of it goes back in to the waste industry, in the form of education via councils.” (Source: CH 7 News, 19-6-2019)