The Victorian Government has released its circular economy strategy – Recycling Victoria – a 10-year plan that aims to overhaul Victoria’s recycling sector, create 3,900 jobs and reduce waste going to landfill.
The $300 million package includes:
$129 million for a statewide four-bin recycling system to separate recyclables, glass, food and organics, and waste. The rollout of the new bins will start next year and happen gradually, informed by the needs of local communities and existing council contracts. There will also be special arrangements for remote regional households and people in apartments;
a container deposit scheme to be developed in consultation with councils and industry and begin by 2023;
$96.5 million to support businesses to invest in infrastructure to sort and process recyclables.
$71.4 million to tackle waste crime, illegal dumping and stockpiling, and management of high-risk sites and high-risk substances.
A dedicated Waste Crime Prevention Inspectorate will be established within the Environment Protection Authority, which will work with WorkSafe Victoria, emergency service agencies, councils and other regulators to improve information sharing and coordination.
Recycling Victoria will also set new goals for improved recycling and recovery in Victoria, including reducing reliance on landfill with a diversion target of 80 per cent.
Collection of waste and recycling data will be improved with a new and dedicated data system to provide more reliable information on the flow of recycled materials.
The Government will also provide $14.6 million to support local projects that boost recycling, reduce littering and take advantage of economic opportunities to reduce waste, particularly in regional communities.
A further $1.8 million will be provided to support charities in handling waste from charitable donations.
Specific initiatives within the $95 million business support package include:
a statewide education program to help households, businesses and councils transition to the new system
$30 million in new grants for recycling innovation
$10 million in new grants to help business reduce waste and increase recycling in their daily operations
$10 million in funding for waste-to-energy initiatives,
a $7 million Business Innovation Centre to develop new, innovative technology and solutions to waste problems.
To ensure consistency across the state, the Government will make waste collection an essential service and establish a new dedicated authority to better govern the recycling system.
The Government will progressively increase the landfill levy over coming years to bring it into line with other states and discourage dumping of rubbish from New South Wales and South Australia.
The change reflects an agreement reached by state and territory Treasurers to work towards the harmonisation of landfill levies and will provide a strong incentive to reduce and recycle waste, and drive innovation in new waste technologies.