Tasmanian Opposition told to come to the party or get out of the way so we can create jobs

16 November 2021

The Tasmanian Labor Party’s attempt to frustrate the introduction of the waste levy and stall the container refund scheme in Tasmania is thoroughly disappointing and makes no sense given the environmental and economic opportunities both present to the state.

Last week, the Waste and Resource Recovery Bill, which establishes the statewide waste levy, passed the House of Parliament, only days after the passage of the Container Refund Scheme (CRS) Bill. The Labor Party voted against the waste levy legislation and called for an inquiry for the CRS Bill before it reaches the Legislative Council.

“A waste disposal levy is an important economic tool to divert waste from landfill, incentivise recycling and resource recovery, and create jobs and investment in Tasmania. We know that recycling creates 9.2 jobs for every 10,000 tonnes compared with 2.8 for landfilling. Meanwhile, a CRS is a scheme we know not only reduces litter and plastic pollution, it also increases recycling and creates jobs, bringing investment to Tasmania and putting money back into householders’ pockets,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

“These are important reforms that will drive Tasmania towards a more circular economy where we put a price and a value on materials, incentivise higher order uses of our end-of-life materials, mitigate carbon emissions, and have the funds, through the levy, to build the capability and capacity to do so. The CRS also represents a true polluters-pay scheme where the generators of products are responsible for the cost of managing end-of-life materials as well as re-using of post-consumer recyclate in product design.

“The Labor Party is not only standing in the way of Tasmania’s progress, it is also trying to jeopardise these significant and positive reforms – ones that will drive numerous benefits for the environment and community, which we have spent years working with government to deliver,” Ms Sloan added.

“The waste and resource recovery industry, charities, local governments, environment groups, and the community unanimously support the proposed CRS scheme and its roll-out timeframe. We have spent two (2) years getting to this place - where has the Opposition been during this time? We have also seen in the other jurisdictions that a waste levy brings numerous economic benefits. These moves by the Opposition seriously impact Tasmania’s chance of benefiting from these reforms and progressing in its circular ambitions, at least in the short-term. The party needs to get with the program and understand the desire to progress and invest in Tasmania.

“It is unclear why these moves have been made by the Opposition at the eleventh hour when there have been public consultations on both important initiatives over the last 18 months, but what is clear is that there will be impacts on the procurement processes for CRS, which will be delayed, potentially depriving Tasmania of job opportunities in 2022. It is extremely disappointing that Tasmania’s progress in managing materials and carbon emissions is being held back,” Ms Sloan said.