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Member Statement: Waste & Recycling Management

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) – I rise to express my disappointment in the failure of the government to use the budget to fix the waste crisis.

This is what the government could do now: stand up to Coca-Cola and the beverage industry and implement a container deposit scheme, which has the overwhelming support of the community; finally implement the plastic bag ban, which was announced years ago during the Northcote by-election, and go further on unnecessary plastics; introduce kerbside organic collection, which will get the most polluting form of waste out of landfill and which is so important to people who live in apartments; invest millions in the recycling industry here in Victoria, with new and upgraded recycling plants to increase recycling capacity and create jobs; and implement mandatory procurement targets for materials and food diverted from waste to create the truly circular economy.

Instead, this government is spending around $100 million over five years out of the Sustainability Fund, despite there being half a billion dollars sitting in that fund, and a promised $34 million for an immediate response-so-called when most of the funding does not flow until after next financial year.

With China, Indonesia and Malaysia, quite fairly, not accepting our waste that will damage their environment, this problem is only going to get worse. Recycling going to landfill, waste being illegally stockpiled and toxic fires – the government must act now to fix the waste crisis.