House debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Questions without Notice

Economy: Recycling

2:44 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is supporting Australian jobs and our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through major environmental initiatives in waste and recycling?

2:45 pm

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

I thank the member for Wentworth for his question and congratulate him for his outstanding leadership in his local community. Australians want to be confident that, when they put their recycling bin out on the kerb, everything will be collected and recycled, not sent to landfill, not shipped overseas. As the Prime Minister said, 'It's our waste and it's our responsibility.' The Morrison government is driving a billion-dollar transformation of Australia's waste and recycling capacity by building onshore demand for recycled content. This will not only divert over 10 million tonnes of resource from landfill; it will create more than 10,000 jobs through the largest renewal of the waste industry recycling capability in our history. It's another example of how the Morrison government's plan for economic recovery is creating jobs, driving investment and achieving excellent environmental and social outcomes.

Industry and communities have supported the waste export ban, and, in fact, they're stepping up and are making their own investments, such as the Pact, Cleanaway and Asahi investment in my hometown of Albury. They're investing in a new facility that will reprocess plastic, creating local, regional jobs. We've backed the waste export ban with the most significant package of policies on waste and recycling, including our Recycling Modernisation Fund, which will leverage $600 million of new investment in new infrastructure. For example, in Tasmania, we're partnering with the government to prioritise projects that improve sorting technology at local recycling centres and develop more plastic reprocessing capacity, getting those clean streams of waste that really are valuable in a remanufacturing process.

Consumers will soon see an end to one of our biggest recycling challenges, after the country's two largest domestic battery recyclers committed to take part in end-of-life recycling of batteries. They're hazardous and they cause fires. I want to thank my assistant minister, the member for Brisbane, for his incredibly effective work in this space. Recycling is playing an important part in our recovery, being led by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure. Last week I stood on the soon-to-be east-west runway at the new Western Sydney Airport. Some 4.5 million tonnes of sandstone extracted from the WestConnex tunnelling is being used as substrate beneath runways, taxiways and roads. These are two major projects, being funded by the Morrison government, that are showcasing recycling in action. I'm delighted that the minister for industry's Modern Manufacturing Initiative contains an initiative about recycling. As the minister says, it's about Australia playing to its strengths and the government strategically investing in areas of manufacturing where we know we have an edge and we know we'll get the jobs we need.