Council call on state government to use $500 million landfill levy fund to find a solution to recycling crisis

SAD: Wheelie Waste general manager Chris Philp stands among a days worth of Kyneton's recycle rubbish. Wheelie waste is no longer picking up recyclables from Macedon Ranges. Picture: Joe Armao
SAD: Wheelie Waste general manager Chris Philp stands among a days worth of Kyneton's recycle rubbish. Wheelie waste is no longer picking up recyclables from Macedon Ranges. Picture: Joe Armao

Warrnambool City Council is calling on the state government to use the $500 million in the landfill levy fund to find a solution to the ongoing recycling crisis.

The council says a “catastrophic failure has occurred in the strategic management of recycling” across the south-west and Victoria.

Chief executive officer Bruce Ansons said there was still not a “logical solution”.

“There needs to be significant investment from the state government to enable industry to come up with solutions,” he said.

A council report said the state government was “failing to act to prevent what at this stage appears to be the end of curbside recycling collection as we know it”. 

Material that was once exported to China is now largely piling up at waste centres.

China ceased taking recycling products from across the country after a change to its waste laws. 

The council will advocate to the Municipal Association of Victoria at its state council meeting to call on the state government “to put their money where their mouth is, in relation to waste and in particular around recyclables”.

“They have amassed over $500 million in landfill levies to deal with waste diversion issues but has not implement sustainable alternatives in time to avert this crisis,” the advocacy letter says. 

“If the government does not adequately support local authorities local communities will be paying again to rectify the issue, after already having contributed to these levies.”

Councillor Peter Hulin said all tiers of government needed to deal with the problem properly.

“It’s certainly a sad state of affairs, not only in this state, but in this country,” he said. 

“Governments of all levels are to blame for where we found ourselves today. I’m glad we are finally trying to do something about it.” 

Cr David Owen said the government had “certainly dropped the ball”.

“We need some action here,” he said. “The government is sitting on $500 million. We need to work with all councils on this. The community should send a message in a recycled bottle to Daniel Andrews and the minister requesting that they get off their arse and do something about it.”