ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON WASTE

My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and it concerns the urgent but longstanding issue of waste.

Nothing demonstrates an asleep-at-the-wheel mentality better than the current waste issue confronting this state and this hapless minister. The rubbish crisis has suddenly come to our attention because a recycler has gone broke and a foreign power has quite rightly pulled the pin on solving our own rubbish problems.

Why should we export our problems offshore, not only to China but especially to less developed economies? The majority of the 24 municipalities in my electorate of Western Victoria Region are rightly outraged that the tax levied on ratepayers for years has not been used to prepare for the waste pile we currently confront.

Not only have councils been forced to pay levies to the state government and huge compliance costs on their own landfill sites as well as increasing charges to waste collectors, but now they have to find storage and put recyclables that their communities have carefully separated into landfill and waste sites.

Waste should be seen as an opportunity, not a problem, and this government should have shown leadership, not an unsatisfactory catch-up reaction.

Waste to energy is not new and is used to great effect overseas, along with many forms of recycling. Circular economies utilising waste are in operation as we speak outside this country.

We are years behind the game here. We have happily buried or exported our problem while not ensuring proper and productive use of waste.

I therefore ask the minister: what use is being made of the half billion dollars in the Sustainability Fund to quickly move to utilising waste in collaboration with the private sector through recycling and conversion of household recyclable waste to energy?

14 August 2019