Australian Government to Create 10,000 New Jobs From Recycling Fund

July 5, 2020 Updated: July 6, 2020

The Morrison government has announced it will create 10,000 new jobs and transform Australia’s waste and recycling industry.

In a joint media release on July 6, the Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley and the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said the government would commit $190 million to create a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF).

The RMF will generate a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s ability to recycle and process waste.

“More than 10,000 jobs will be created, and over 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill to the making of useful products as Australia turbocharges its recycling capacity,” said Ley and Evans in the joint statement.

The federal government expects the new fund to generate $600 million of investment in the Australian recycling industry by supporting investment into new infrastructure “to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass,” said Ley and Evans.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity,” said Ley.

“We need to stop throwing away tonnes of electronic waste and batteries each year and develop new ways to recycle valuable resources.”

The RMF is part of the Morrison government’s national strategy to change the way Australia deals with rubbish.

In 2019 the federal government established the National Waste Policy Action Plan that targeted banning the export of waste plastic, paper, glass, and tyres from the second half of 2020.

The policy also plans to reduce the total waste generated in Australia by reducing waste per person by 10 percent and by creating an 80 percent recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said the RMF would enable Australia to develop a circular economy that creates jobs and a robust onshore recycling industry.

“Australian companies are turning plastics, and household waste into furniture, decking, fencing and clothing, and we are developing new domestic markets for recycled materials by setting national standards for recycled content in roads and making recycled products a focus of procurement for infrastructure, defence estate management and general government purchasing,” said Evans.

According to the federal government, RMF funding will be conditional on co-funding from industry, states, and territories.

“As we pursue the National Waste Policy Action Plan targets, we need manufacturers and industry to take a genuine stewardship role that helps create a sustainable circular economy, said Ley.

“Companies are already moving with The Pact Group announcing a $500 million investment in facilities, research and technology, Coca-Cola Amatil committing to new recycling targets, and Pact, Cleanaway and Asahi Beverages establishing a $30 million recycling facility in Albury,” said Evans.

The peak body for waste reduction management, the Australian Council for Recycling (ACOR) said the government’s announcement was a massive milestone for the $1.5 billion industry that employs an estimated 50,000 Australians.

In a media release (pdf) on July 6, the CEO of ACOR, Pete Shmigel, said that the RFM would benefit both the environment and the recycling industry.

“This bonza and unprecedented investment will transform Australian recycling and help make it domestically sustainable,” said Shmigel

“RMF builds on our industry’s own innovation and investment in making more recycled content products and generating hi-vis regional jobs right here in Australia,” he said.

“Full marks to Ministers, especially Commonwealth Ministers, in going where recycling policy has not gone before: real recognition of recycling’s benefits, real coordination, real money, and now real results,” Shmigel said.