Recycling a priority in New South Wales - Presidentís comment

Article image - Recycling a priority in New South Wales - Presidentís comment Councillor Linda Scott, LGNSW

At Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW), we’re working to save recycling.

Whilst the recently announced draft National Waste Policy and targets to reduce total waste by 10 percent and divert 80 percent from landfill are a great start on our national response to the recycling crisis highlighted by China’s National Sword Policy, we can do better.

LGNSW is continuing to push for a more sustainable, circular economy.

Our communities have been very clear: recycling must continue to grow. Councils in NSW and across Australia are making great progress at a local level:  helping to develop markets for recycled glass, paper and plastics; working proactively to improve the quality of what’s in the recycling bin; and reducing recycling contamination levels.

Recycling is an incredibly important issue for councils and the communities they serve.

We know the community is already doing their bit at a household level, and councils are committed to ensuring household efforts to recycle aren’t – literally – wasted.

In NSW, the local government sector has been working closely with our state and federal counterparts to develop home grown solutions to the crisis.

`LGNSW has consistently argued state-based solutions could be funded via the Waste Levy – some $727 million collected by the State Government in 2017/18. Yet only 18 percent of the waste levies paid by local government are returned to local government, and there is no transparency on where the rest of this funding is spent.

We’ll be focusing a lot of attention on this issue in the run-up to the NSW State Election next March, and I would urge councils right across Australia to do the same: if the recycling industry in Australia falters, then we all lose.

The current environment is certainly ripe for advocacy by our sector, with state and federal governments increasingly alert to the critical value of a partnership with local government to build strong, healthy and resilient communities.

LGNSW’s partnership with the NSW Public Libraries Association for the Renew Our Libraries Campaign recently prompted the NSW Berejiklian Government to commit an extra $60 million in funding over the next four years, and the Foley Opposition to make a similar commitment.

We’re proud to have delivered this strong public outcome for our local government members.

Market research conducted by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) found 81 percent of all Australians want political candidates to focus on local issues and local communities.

Partnering with councils to strengthen our communities makes sense because these communities create the jobs and income that grow our economies both locally and at the national level.

The opportunities are there, and our sector stands ready and able to contribute to a better, stronger nation.