Almost a year since it was revealed that the Morrison Government’s signature election funding commitments on waste and recycling had gone nowhere, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has again confirmed in Senate Estimates that the so-called $100m Recycling Investment Fund (RIF), which was simply re-labelled CEFC funding, has not advanced a single dollar.
Nor has the $20m National Product Stewardship Investment Fund made a single grant.
That means at least 72% of the Prime Minister’s much vaunted $167m Recycling Investment Package, which was first announced during the election campaign in May 2019, has made no difference to Australia’s serious waste crisis some 18 months later.
When Labor asked about the RIF in November 2019 (at Senate Estimates), the CEFC advised: No projects have been financed to date under this Fund, as it does not yet exist. And after being caught out again in May this year, the Government claimed the RIF was open and was expecting funding applications. The fact is, nothing has happened.
Similarly, at the Plastic Summit in March the Prime Minister promised reform of the Commonwealth procurement arrangements, with new guidelines and targets for the use of recycled material. Yet so far, nothing.
The Australian community and the Australian waste & resource management industry have been loud and clear in calling for reform and investment to reduce landfill, increase recycling, stop plastic pollution, and develop new manufacturing and job opportunities.
But while the Government makes regular and carefully packaged announcements on waste and recycling, in large part they are not worth the paper they’re printed on.