FEDERAL Government Assistant Minister Trevor Evans visited the Mount Gambier waste transfer station last week as the government plans to ramp up its commitment to recycling in Australia.
Touring the facilities on Friday, Mr Evans – Assistant Minister for waste reduction and environmental management – examined Mount Gambier City Council’s efforts and strategies in the waste reduction and recycling space.
It comes as the government plans to introduce Australia’s first ever recycling act when parliament reconvenes in a few weeks time.
Mr Evans said it was clear Mount Gambier had a distinct focus on achieving better recycling outcomes for the community.
“I think Mount Gambier is in some ways typical of a lot of Australia, where people are really wanting to see much better recycling outcomes across the board,” Mr Evans said.
“They want to see a lot of materials that are currently being viewed as waste, turned back into valuable commodities and put back in the supply chain.”
Mr Evans said the Federal Government was investing in that area as a high priority after stepping more heavily into the space after last year’s election.
“The recycling act will implement our waste export ban, so Australia will no longer be exporting our mixed waste plastics, our whole tyres, our waste glass and other commodities around the world to other countries,” he said.
“There’s more than half a billion dollars worth of funding on the table so that we can start to build the recycling facilities and infrastructure that we need right here in Australia.”
Member for Barker Tony Pasin joined Mr Evans for the visit and highlighted the community’s pragmatism to achieve results in the waste reduction space.
“The Prime Minister was exactly right when he said ‘it is our waste, it is our responsibility’, but as you just heard from the Minister it is also our opportunity,” Mr Pasin said.
“We need to make sure the economics of recycling makes sense and locally there are some real opportunities.
“Ultimately we are surrounded by a community of pragmatists, none of whom want to unnecessarily harm their environment and are focused on practical outcomes.”
Mr Evans said the can-do attitude was a reflection of the entire state.
“I can say that South Australia broadly has been quite a leader and a pioneer on many of the recycling and waste reduction policies that we have seen around the country,” he said.
“Some of the very best facilities and technology I have seen as I have toured around the country have been right here in South Australia.”