The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is calling for leadership from the Commonwealth following endorsement of the new National Waste Policy (NWP) at the 8th Meeting of Environment Ministers in Canberra last Friday.
ALGA President, Mayor David O’Loughlin, said, “We congratulate the Environment Ministers on the delivery of Australia’s new National Waste Policy, but the job is not done yet.
“The new policy may be full of good intentions and strong principles, but has as much backbone as you’ll find in the average plastic shopping bag.
“Urgent action is needed as Ministers themselves have acknowledged.
“Industry and communities need to see real on-ground action and there is a critical need for national leadership to maintain a unified approach.
“It is essential that councils, federal, state and territory governments increase their procurement of goods and infrastructure that incorporate recycled materials – such as those used in road bases – which will help to reduce items entering the waste stream in the first place and create jobs.”
Mayor O’Loughlin said that there are already many local governments paying for innovative products made entirely or partly from recycled materials, but that state and territory governments also need to take the necessary steps to help the recyclate industry sector go further.
“There is more than $1 billion sitting in state waste levy funds that could be invested in industry innovation, pilot projects and financially supporting transitions from virgin product feedstock to recycled feedstock.
“There’s another $1 billion to be collected next year, but the meeting achieved no strong policy commitment, no agreement on concrete targets or timeframes, miniscule investment and little progress.
“Let’s work together over the next few months, years and beyond to fulfill the vision of a sustainable future - one that supports jobs, local businesses and the environment.”
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Chair of the South West Group Voluntary Regional Organisation of Councils (VROC), City of Melville Mayor, Russell Aubrey, has welcomed the development of Western Australia’s Defence Strategic Plan.
“Southwest metropolitan Perth is one of the most capable regions in Australia to support the ongoing development of the defence industry through fabrication, maintenance, refitting and operations support, particularly for maritime services.
“The defence industry is worth over a billion dollars to the southwest metropolitan region and supports almost 5,000 jobs, and we are pleased to see it well recognised as an industry vital to the region and the state by the McGowan Government.”
South West Group Director, Tom Griffiths, said, “Access to the Indian Ocean is expected to be vital to Australia’s security and prosperity in the coming decades.
“Due to its wealth of strategic assets, strong population and skilled workforce, the southwest metropolitan region is ideally positioned to support the development of this vital industry.
“The region’s attractive and diverse mix of lifestyle, natural attractions and employment opportunities makes it an ideal location for defence personnel and their families.”
He added that it was important to recognise the geo-political importance of strategic defence assets and how well that positioned the region to attract future investment and secure sustainment and maintenance work.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with the State on several of the actions within the strategy.
“For instance, our Member Local Governments should be involved in the master planning and management of the Henderson precinct.
“We can add significant value to the process and will ultimately be involved in much of the implementation.”