This week is Keep Australia Beautiful Week (16-22 August) and highlights the problem of plastic waste while encouraging the community to stop using single-use plastic items and take up sustainable alternatives.
Federal member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, encouraged local residents to take every opportunity to support grass-roots campaigns and state government programs that aim to eliminate harmful and unnecessary single-use plastics.
“The Morrison-Joyce Government has failed to provide national leadership to address the waste crisis, which means the heavy lifting is left to community campaigns and our State Government,” Mr Neumann said.
“Most of the states and territories have implemented deadlines for banning single-use plastic items, with Queensland’s ban beginning 1 September 2021.
“Sadly, up to half of all plastic on our coasts comes from packaging and single-use plastic.
“Yet after three terms, three Prime Ministers, and five Environment Ministers, the Morrison-Joyce Government’s only significant reform is to ban the export of highly contaminated low-quality waste that other countries had already refused to accept.
“As we know, more mixed plastic is likely to go into local landfill as a result.
“Local residents in this region are living with the fallout of years of neglect in the war on waste.”
Mr Neumann said the Morrison-Joyce Government has failed to deliver recycling infrastructure, failed to implement effective product stewardship measures, and failed to implement Commonwealth procurement targets, which were promised by December 2020.
The Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund has so far disbursed only $4.5 million – or 2 per cent – of the $190m touted for waste reprocessing infrastructure. The Government’s $100 million Recycling Investment Fund, a repackaging of existing Clean Energy Finance Corporation loan funds, did not advance a single dollar for nearly two years, and only recently provided monies for a project that was already going ahead.
“None of the new infrastructure facilities that have been agreed with the states and territories have been delivered.
“Scott Morrison has made a lot of noise about reforming waste and recycling but there has been no meaningful action or national leadership to address the scourge of plastic waste.
“If Scott Morrison wants the Australian people to take him seriously, he needs to deliver less packaging and more substance, fewer claims and more haste, in addressing Australia’s waste crisis.”