WMRR welcomes Victorian Government funding for SKM

28 August 2019

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement this week of a $10 million loan to SKM’s receivers KordaMentha to help clean up SKM sites and resume waste processing.

“WMRR commends the Victorian Government for taking proactive action to manage some of the ongoing challenges in the State and welcomes the earlier announcement of a $6.6 million financial relief package to councils directly affected by the closure of SKM and now, this $10 million loan which will assist in getting sites back up and running,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

The Government also announced that it is working in partnership with local government and industry through September on a major overhaul of kerbside collection that will seek innovative and cost-effective designs that could include additional household bins to reduce waste contamination.

“It is encouraging to see that the Government is keenly aware that money alone will not fix the systemic issues in Victoria’s waste and resource recovery industry; robust policy and planning are needed to drive long-term change across the State,” Ms Sloan said.

“However, WMRR cautions the Government against simply turning to additional bins as a solution because doing so means placing extra costs on councils and householders and increasing truck movements. Emphasis must be on solutions that require waste generators and producers taking responsibility for the waste they design and paying for the cost of managing this waste. 

“The yellow bin was established to take single material packaging types like glass, PET and HDPE. Instead, what we see on the shelves is a proliferation of packaging that includes multiple materials. How can you sort a clean bale of PET bottles for example when the lid and label alone account for 10% contamination by weight? The time really has come for significant national action on product design and material selection, and the creation of stronger Extended Producer Schemes.”

“One possible solution that must be on the table in Victoria is a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), which we know has the benefit of providing a cleaner stream of product for remanufacturers, particularly glass, and has the additional benefit of not placing additional costs on councils,” Ms Sloan added.

“WMRR has been calling for the much-needed development of local remanufacturing and markets to absorb Australian recycled material and a CDS creates cleaner streams of product; better streams for remanufacturing. It’s a no-brainer.

“Ultimately, waste management and resource recovery is a shared responsibility and more must be done to encourage positive change in materials generated, consumption behaviours, and the role of the entire supply chain to fund these services.

“Victoria, like the rest of Australia, needs to make structural changes in order to move forward and build a diverse and robust industry, create jobs, expand and strengthen local processing, increase skills and opportunities and more – the true elements that make a circular economy,” Ms Sloan concluded.