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Invest in Better Waste, Recycling, and Circular Economy Solutions

Councils provide waste, recycling and resource recovery services to the community, provide and operate recycling and disposal infrastructure and work tirelessly to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill by educating residents, businesses and schools about waste avoidance and recycling. Yet we continue to face significant challenges from increasing waste generation and lack of markets for Australian recycled content.

While we do not resile from our longstanding call on the NSW Government to reinvest the entirety of the $800 million revenue received from the Waste Levy into innovative solutions to these challenges, we do welcome the Budget allocation of $52.4 million to support the transition to sustainable materials and reduced carbon emissions.

The funding – which was announced back in 2021 - will be used to implement the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and NSW Plastics Action Plan. We acknowledge this funding package is a step in the right direction; we’d just like to see the Government go so much further, and commit additional funds from the Waste Levy to assist with the transition to a circular economy. NSW has an opportunity to lead the nation when it comes to managing the waste crisis, but to do so will require more funding than the fraction of the Waste Levy the Budget has revealed will be reinvested to this end in 2022-23.

In a separate environmental initiative, the Budget allocates funding of $26.4 million over four years for environmental monitoring; this includes not only an extension of the coastal Beachwatch program but water quality monitoring in regional and inland areas. LGNSW will be seeking further detail on this announcement in order to clarify whether this extension to current monitoring will be made the responsibility of councils. If so, rest assured that LGNSW will be advocating strongly to ensure councils are properly funded from this allocation to undertake the additional work.