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Federal Budget plan to support recycling welcome

"A Federal Government plan to upgrade Australia's recycling capacity and boost demand for recycled materials is welcome news for industry," the Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, Innes Willox, said today.

"Industry recognises the importance of building a successful circular economy globally and within Australia. That goal requires complementary efforts to develop financially sustainable markets for recovered materials, to support new and improved recycling capabilities, and to provide rules that are fairly and firmly applied.

"The 2019 COAG agreement to ban export of waste plastic, paper, tyres and glass will not of itself create the domestic markets and requisite infrastructure required to absorb onshore the large volumes of waste previously exported. It is heartening to see the emergence of broader policy packages to fill the gap, including the Budget announcements foreshadowed by the Federal Government today and the initiatives announced by the Victorian Government last week. Effective public policy at all levels should be closely coordinated with industry through consultation and partnership.

"Higher durable demand for recycled materials and products can underpin investment in the infrastructure and remanufacturing capacity we need. Changes to Federal purchasing rules to encourage recycled content are a positive step, but much more demand will be needed. Beyond the important role of public procurement, sustainable recycling will require support from Federal and State Governments in a variety of ways, including improved and harmonised technical and material design standards; a consistent approach to data collection; innovation policy; and transitional financial support for the recovered material supply or demand.

"Employers strongly support the objectives of reducing the harms from waste and increasing the benefits realised from using waste as a resource. Pairing increased recycling capacity and increased demand can help," Mr Willox said.

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Tony Melville – 0419 190 347