The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has confirmed that the Morrison Government’s $100 million “Recycling Investment Fund” is nothing more than a 7-month-old policy announcement that has since gathered dust.
In response to Labor’s questions on notice in Senate Estimates, the CEFC advised that:
No projects have been financed to date under this Fund, as it does not yet exist.
Since the Government announced the Recycling Investment Fund on 3 May, no direction has been given by the responsible Ministers authorising the CEFC to establish the fund that is apparently intended to provide concessional loans to manufacturers of recycled products whose processes involve energy efficiency or carbon emission reduction measures.
This lack of action comes despite agreement across all levels of government and industry that Australia is facing a serious waste crisis and needs to act quickly to prepare for a looming waste export ban from 1 July 2020.
The tested value of the policy is also dubious with the CEFC confirming they were not consulted prior to the Morrison Government’s May announcement. It is worth noting that the non-existent fund does not involve any new or additional money, but is essentially a case of putting a new label on part of the existing CEFC funding envelope.
So while Australia is in need of meaningful and timely action from the Government all we get is delay and repackaging.
We know that each additional 10,000 tonnes of waste that is recycled creates an additional nine jobs, but it will take leadership and reform to create those manufacturing opportunities.
While Mr Morrison and Minister Ley will take any opportunity to grandstand about their waste intentions in order to distract from their inaction and failure on climate change, today’s response from the CEFC confirms that this government is not only loose with the truth, but is all talk and no action when it comes to cleaning-up the environment and creating new jobs.
At a time when recycling businesses are taking their operations overseas due to a lack of domestic market incentives, the waste and recycling industry rightly looks to the Commonwealth to take swift action and show effective leadership to address a waste crisis caused by profound market failure.