Australian Government circular economy response to Parliamentary Inquiry
Australian Government response to Parliamentary Inquiry Report, Building Up & Moving Out
Below is the relevant excerpt from the full report that deals with waste, recycling and the need to adopt circular economy principles.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, in partnership with the States and Territories, establish nationally consistent measureable targets to reduce waste to landfill, incorporates waste indicators into the National Cities Performance Framework, and establishes a grant program to offer once-off financial support to catalyse new businesses focussed on waste recycling or utilisation.
The Australian Government agrees in principle to this recommendation.
The Australian Government is strongly committed to working with state and territory governments, and with industry, in reducing waste, increasing recycling and building capacity within our domestic recycling industry. Australia’s 2018 National Waste Policy: Less Waste, More Resources Policy, agreed by all of Australia’s Environment Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association in December 2018, sets a new unified direction for waste and recycling in Australia. The Policy is based on circular economy principles, recognising the economic and job opportunities in re-circulating valuable resources within the Australian economy.
In November 2019, Environment Ministers agreed the National Waste Policy: Action Plan to drive the implementation of the Policy. The Action Plan includes seven ambitious national waste targets including a ban on the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres; reducing the total waste generated in Australia by 10 per cent per person per year; an 80 per cent recovery rate of material across all waste streams; significant increases to government procurement of recycled materials; and halving the amount of organic waste sent to landfill.
Recognising that Australia must take care of its own waste, in March 2020 the Council of Australian Governments agreed to introduce the ban on the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres. Governments also agreed to a national response strategy to drive implementation of the ban and help reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill.
In March 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will co-invest in critical waste sorting and recycling infrastructure with state and territory governments and industry. The Prime Minister also announced that the Government will strengthen the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to make sure every procurement undertaken by a Commonwealth agency considers environmental sustainability and use of recycled content when determining value for money.
The incorporation of national waste target indicators into the National Cities Performance Framework will be investigated as part of the Framework’s regular update and review process.