The government has announced a $7 million boost to help build new or expand existing recycling facilities in regional and remote Australia.
Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said the funding will help build or improve recycling facilities to deal with waste glass, plastics, tyres, and paper. It will also 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,” she 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 (value $39 million).
The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that 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,” he 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 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 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.
The Australian Government is driving a $1 billion transformation of our waste and recycling industry expected to create 10,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.