CONCERN: Local Government NSW president Linda Scott argues the money should be taken from consolidated revenue.
HUNTERcouncils willbe forced to cutexisting programs to help prop up kerbside recycling after it was revealed the NSW government’s recycling industry assistance package is a reallocation of existing funding.
The NSW government announced last week it had set aside $47 million to help consumers, local councils and the waste industry cope with the crisis caused by China’s clampdown on imported recyclables.
Already approved council programs now facetheaxeas the $47 millionis not new money andbeing drawn from an existing grant program known as Waste Less, Recycle More.
The NSW government program providesfunding for business recycling, organics collections, market development, managing problem wastes, new waste infrastructure, local councils and programs to tackle illegal dumping and litter.
It’s understood much of the$47 million being used to help local councils cope with the recycling crisiswill come from existing projects or payments already madeto local government through the Waste Less, Recycle More program.
In a letter to Hunter councils last week, Local Government NSW president Linda Scott said she lobbied for the $47 millionto come from“funds collected via the waste levy that currently go into consolidated revenue”.
“Although we welcome the government’s financial assistance, we are disappointed the package is being drawn from funding already allocated,” she said.
China has been the biggest destination for recycled materials exported by , accounting for more than a third of all plastics collected and significant amounts of paper and metals.
But last year China announced it would stop taking what it called “foreign garbage”— millions of tonnes of low quality recyclable materials from a range of countries, including . Any rubbish that is exportedto China needs to be processed and uncontaminated.Experts warnany solutionwould be expensive, with ratepayers likely to be slugged.
Hunter councils are already stockpiling recyclables to avoid sending it to landfill.