The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) requires certain licensed waste facilities in NSW to pay a contribution to the NSW Government for each tonne of waste received at the facility. The 'waste levy' aims to reduce the amount of waste disposed of to landfill, and encourage recycling and resource recovery. However, very little of the waste levy is
currently used to support waste avoidance, recycling and resource recovery,
with the vast majority flowing to the NSW Government’s consolidated revenue.
Lane Cove Council supports Local Government NSW's Save Our Recycling campaign which calls for 100% of the waste levy collected to be reinvested for the purpose of waste avoidance, recycling and resource recovery. Currently only $801 million of the $4.62 billion collected in an eight year period 2013 - 2021 has been allocated for the NSW Government's Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
For example, in 2016/17, the NSW Government collected $726 million from local government, community, businesses and industry via the waste levy, but only committed to use $72 million on waste avoidance and recycling in 2017-18. This amount – roughly 10 per cent of the total levy collection – will be spent on the NSW Government's Waste Less, Recycle More program. At a local government level, just 18% of that $300 million collected from the local government sector each year is reinvested in recycling and waste management.
Local governments are calling on the reinvestment of the waste levy to support waste and resource recovery infrastructure, develop markets and innovative solutions, and undertake other initiatives to encourage reuse and recycling also offers wide-ranging benefits to our communities right across NSW. There is the potential for economic growth, new infrastructure, new technology and new jobs, particularly in our regional areas.
For more information about the campaign visit the Save Our Recycling website.