House debates

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Questions without Notice

Waste Management and Recycling

3:20 pm

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | Hansard source

It is a pleasure to take another question from the member for Robertson and I thank her for introducing me to so many of her recycling industry players, including Licella, a world-leading commercial operation using old recycled plastic and turning it into oil. I'm delighted the Labor Party, at least some of the frontbench, are here to hear the good messages from the government about our recycling agenda because this government is the first to have put waste and recycling on the national agenda, backed up by our $167 million recycling investment fund. The government are committed to reducing waste, increasing recycling rates and building capacity within our domestic recycling industry. Better managing our waste and improving recycling will reduce impacts on the environment, promote opportunities for local industries and jobs because, importantly, for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled, there are approximately nine jobs.

Waste is an economic opportunity. It's also an environmental responsibility. As the Prime Minister has said, it's our waste; it's our responsibility and, with Australians generating 67 million tonnes a year and growing, this is a really important microeconomic reform for the government to take. With the dynamic member for Brisbane, the assistant minister, we have met with industry leaders, peak representative bodies, CEOs, and women and men on the front line of waste handling. The technology is there. The investment capacity is there. It's just about changing the way we think about managing waste and creating markets for recycled material.

I thank the Deputy Prime Minister and applaud him for his role at the 12th meeting of Transport and Infrastructure Council last week. He focused on practical steps to support our economy by better harnessing recyclables. Government procurement can lead the way. We've agreed to a national action plan. For example, a $50 million—$25 million Australian government contribution—upgrade on the Great Ocean Road will use the equivalent of 730,000 plastic bags through incorporation into a new asphalt mix to resurface 1½ kilometres of roadway. That's one example of government leading the way.

As I said, waste is not a problem to solve; it's an economic opportunity to seize, and this government is seizing it. Our policies will reduce waste, lift recycling rates in Australia, tackle the scourge of plastics in our oceans and waterways, and ensure that we build recycling resource recovery in a healthy sustainable way that focuses on all Australians.


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