House debates

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Questions without Notice

Recycling Investment Fund

2:46 pm

Photo of Josh WilsonJosh Wilson (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. During the election, the government announced the $100 million Recycling Investment Fund. The government recycled the announcement on World Environment Day in June 2019 and again in December 2019. Prime Minister, as of last week not a single dollar had been advanced. Wouldn't it be better to deliver on announcements rather than recycle empty ones?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

It was this government that brought legislation into this place to stop once and for all the export of plastics waste, glass waste, paper waste and tyre waste—

Mr Hill interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Bruce is warned.

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

that previously would have gone to other places outside of this country and polluted waterways and other parts of this beautiful globe.

We've also ensured that we've come to an agreement, firstly through COAG and then through the national cabinet, to ensure that we partner with the state and territories, who have that responsibility for recycling on the ground across this country. That's been made possible by this government because we understand how important actual projects on recycling are to make it happen in this country. That is our commitment and that is what we are actually doing. I will ask the Minister for the Environment to add further to the answer.

2:47 pm

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

I'm happy to add to the Prime Minister's remarks and underscore our important national waste agenda with some particular remarks in response to the member's question. The $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund is administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The mandate was signed on 17 December 2019. There are transactions in the forward investment pipeline. We are advised that it continues to assess and screen expressions of interest that have been received since the fund was established and are being held as commercial-in-confidence. Understandably, there have been many inquiries.

The timing of any commercial transaction depends, as members would know, on a number of factors from both project proponents and the CEFC itself. As with all CEFC investments, projects seeking finance through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund must be commercial, must reflect the requirements that we put into the mandate and must deliver a positive return for taxpayers. So what I'm saying to the member for Fremantle is we are taking the time to get it right and to make sure that those investments bring the returns that every taxpayer would expect. They are being made, understood and studied, and we are on track to achieve them.

It is good to mention that $100 million because recently we've leveraged $1 billion additional investment in waste and recycling with our Recycling Modernisation Fund. So $100 million leveraged $600 million in partnerships with states and industry and generated $1 billion of investment, which is more than 10,000 jobs, particularly in regional Australia, over the next 10 years. That's genuine microeconomic reform that will transform our rural industries, our regional industries and our waste and recycling sector.