Media release - Minister Upton Recycles Funding Announcements

26 June 2018

A so-called “new” grant to councils hard hit by the Chinese National Sword recycling crisis was actually just the same funding that had already been announced, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said today.

“It looks like Local Government and Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton is having a bit of a recycling crisis of her own,” LGNSW President Linda Scott said today.

“The Minister’s latest announcement boasts that her $9.5 million package will ‘blunt the Chinese Sword’ – but it’s just part of the $47.5 million rescue package she announced back in March.

“And even then the funding was recycled – it was simply diverted from funds already allocated to councils to better manage waste across NSW.

“Councils had already been granted that funding under the Waste Less Recycle More Program, and had factored it into their existing recycling and waste management budgets.

“But what is really disappointing is that the money was contributed by councils to the NSW Government as part of the waste levy.

“The NSW Government collected $659 million in waste levies in 2016/17, yet only 18% of the waste levies paid by local government were returned to local government.

“It’s even more disappointing when you look at the record NSW surplus, and the Government’s decision to spend billions of dollars on sporting stadiums in Sydney.”

China’s National Sword Policy applies to the importation of recycling materials from Australia and all other countries. It applies a strict contamination rate on recyclables, which requires a more detailed and expensive sorting process than that used by most recycling companies in Australia.

The one-off funding package announced by the Minister in March was designed to:

  • Enable councils to offset some of the costs associated with kerbside recycling collections
  • Improve tendering processes to increase the production and use of recycled product
  • Fund community education initiatives to reduce kerbside recycling contamination levels

It included today’s announcement of $9.5 million, designed to assist industry and local government to co-invest in infrastructure projects, identify new uses for recyclable materials, improve the quality of recycled products, and reduce the amount of unrecyclable material left at the end of the process.

Clr Scott said councils were already moving to create a circular economy where waste becomes the input for new products, and consumers choose to buy products that have recycled content, for a more sustainable future.


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