Greens MP angered by retrograde recycling decision

Queensland Greens propose investment in real waste management solutions

Queensland Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman MP, is tonight expressing frustration at the announcement that Ipswich City Council will now be sending recyclable materials to landfill.

“Only a year ago, the then Minister of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Honourable Steven Miles MP, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ipswich City Council, providing State support to make Ipswich one of the world’s most sustainable cities.

“Last month the current environment Minister, the Honourable Leanne Enoch MP, announced that the Palaszczuk Government was reintroducing a waste levy, which would boost recycling and create jobs for Queensland.

“Today one of our biggest local government areas, one well suited to profiting from burgeoning green waste-reduction industries, is throwing up its hands and saying it’s all too hard, and our State Government, who have been banging on about not accepting New South Wales’ waste are now saying we need a national solution.

There has been greater public and media interest on the waste and recycling industries in recent years, on the back of programs such as ABC’s War on Waste, driving social change and increased rates of recycling. Sixty per cent of Australia’s waste was recycled in 2014-15.

Previously much of that volume was exported to China for processing, but the country this year stopped accepting foreign waste to protect human health and the environment. Since that time, industry, environment and community groups have been calling for increased domestic recycling and support from both government and business.

Ipswich City Council blamed China’s ban, and rising levels of contaminated waste within domestic recycle bins, stating that these factors led to recycling costs becoming unviable.

“This is a massive step-backwards for our community,” branch spokesperson of Ipswich-Lockyer Greens, Michelle Duncan, said.

“The Ipswich area is rapidly growing in population, at near double the rate of the rest of Queensland. We have a higher rate of unemployment yet have so much potential to prosper through global transitions to a cleaner economy, based on green jobs.

“Ipswich has skilled workers, proximity to transport and access to manufacturing and technological industries which can both drive and benefit from innovative, circular economies and products.

“This waste has to go somewhere. Our community doesn’t want super-dumps, like that proposed for New Chum earlier this year; Ipswich City Council need to reassess this decision." 

Media contact: Alice Lethborg (0409040211)

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