The job-creating circular economy will get a boost in Victoria thanks to a new $14.3 million fund to be spent on the domestic remanufacturing sector in the state.
The bulk of this funding will go towards secondary processing infrastructure for “priority materials” such as paper, cardboard and plastics.
The new Recycling Industry Development Fund falls under the $34.9 million package of recycling reforms announced in last week’s budget.
To bring in new entrants to the Victorian recycling market and diversify the sector, the government has allocated an additional $13.8 million to incentivise participation and invest in equipment and infrastructure upgrades.
The funding will also go towards education programs to help people work out what can and can’t be recycled, and helping councils negotiate new contracts and related support services.
Recycling in Victoria may also become an essential service and therefore regulated in the same way as water and energy sectors, with the Essential Services Commission to conduct a review.
The government will also review the Landfill Levy to see if it is an effective “economic instrument for influencing waste management practices, including reducing waste to landfill.”
The funding follows a $37 million package announced by the government last year in response to the waste crisis that included using its own purchasing power to drive demand for recycled products.
The South Australian government is the only jurisdiction in Australia that has tried to quantify the number of jobs the circular economy could create. The 2017 report found that by 2030, compared to a business as usual scenario, a more circular economy could result in an additional 25,700 full time jobs for the state.
Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association chief executive officer Gayle Sloan told The Fifth Estate last year that the circular economy will result in a variety of jobs including “blue collar” jobs in remanufacturing and other administrative processes, as well as “white collar” roles to be filled in design and principles.
There will also likely be both full and part time roles on offer, she said.