A Daley Labor Government has said it will declare a war on waste, announcing it will ban single-use plastic bags, phase out single-use plastic, and invest an additional $140 million into local recycling initiatives that will generate local jobs.
In a statement from NSW Labor, a spokesperson has said the NSW waste system is in crisis, with a collapsing market for recycled materials – particularly in China, the rapid drop of available landfill sites, and a current state government that has failed to engage with key stakeholders to solve the problems. NSW is the second highest per capita waste producer in the world.
The statement says every person in NSW generates two tonnes of waste each year and to help combat this, Labor will will ban single-use plastic bags and develop a long term plan to phase out single-use plastic.
Country Labor candidate for Goulburn Ursula Stephens, welcomed the announcement saying if elected, Labor would introduce legislation to ban the bag in the first 100 days of taking office.
“People cannot fathom why the Liberals refuse to phase out the single-use plastic bags," Dr Stephens said.
“Recycling waste generates more jobs than sending it to landfill by a factor of four and half times.”
The statement says NSW Labor will also separate the conflicting roles of the Chairperson and CEO of the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Labor will ask the Chief Scientist to examine and report on the energy-from-waste regulatory framework, including examining planning consent laws, health impacts, impacts on recycling, and emissions.
It says Labor will establish a NSW ‘Circular Economy and Job Creation Investment Fund’ to provide an additional $140 million over four years to support investment in recycling and resource recovery facilities.
The fund will generate local jobs by supercharging support for local government and the resource recovery and recycling industry, such as investment in recycling facilities, material processing facilities, increasing community-based waste reduction and recycling, and providing seed funding for innovative solutions to dealing with waste.
It will be established by investing unallocated waste levy revenue and ensuring every dollar earned is spent on addressing waste and supporting recycling and environmental programs.
NSW Labor will also establish a Recycling, Resource Recovery and Waste Council, to bring all key stakeholders together to provide advice to the NSW Minister for the Environment.
Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for the environment, Penny Sharpe said: "it is time for NSW to invest in local recycling and resource recovery facilities and to drive our economy to ensure that waste is avoided, reduced and recycled.”
“Sending waste to landfill is an idea that is well past its use by date," Ms Sharpe said.