IMMEDIATE relief and a long-term strategy to establish local markets for recyclables are both needed to protect South Australian councils from the impact of China’s ban on foreign waste, according to the Local Government Association.
“A large proportion of Australia’s recyclables have historically been exported to China to meet the country’s demand for packaging,” LGA president Lorraine Rosenberg said.
“Under its revised waste import policy China no longer accepts the types of waste products that Australia can viably export and Australia can no longer rely on China as a destination for its recyclable materials.”
Until Australian recyclers can find new markets for their materials, they can either stockpile or accept a reduced price – both options leading to higher costs for councils and ratepayers.
“There is currently more than $100 million sitting in the State Government’s Green Industry Fund that could be used to shield ratepayers from inevitable increases in the cost of recycling,” Ms Rosenberg said.
“These funds have accumulated due to exponential increases in the solid waste levy in recent years – set to rise again on July 1 from $87 per tonne to $100 in the metropolitan area.”
“The LGA has called on the State Government to freeze and review the levy as part of the Liberal Party’s commitment to stop cost shifting to councils and communities.
Victoria and New South Wales recently announced funding support packages of $13m and $47m respectively to address the impact.
“We will be undertaking further discussions with the waste sector and new government around what a support package for our state might include,” Ms Rosenberg said.
“We urge every household to continue their recycling practices.”