Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his new ministry following the coalition’s election win, with the new-look cabinet featuring the first Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management.
The newly created parliamentary role has been appointed to Queensland MP Trevor Evans, who will have a particular focus on waste reduction and local environmental management. Evans was elected to the House of Representatives for Brisbane, Queensland in 2016.
Former Regional Development Assistant Minister Sussan Ley has been appointed Environment Minister, replacing Melissa Price, who will now serve as Defence Minister. Ley has also previously served as Health Minister, Education Minister and Sport Minister.
Gayle Sloan CEO of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), said the association was pleased to see extra resources allocated to the environment portfolio.
“Once the dust settles, WMRR will be engaging with Minister Ley on how we can move forward – effectively drawing that link between the environment and the economy, so that our essential waste and resource recovery industry maximises the opportunities at hand to not only protect the environment, but grow local jobs and the economy,” Sloan said.
Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) CEO Peter Shmigel, said the appointments represent unprecedented national leadership on recycling.
“This is the first time – Commonwealth or state and probably OECD – there’s direct ownership and accountability for recycling results at ministerial level,” Shmigel said.
Shmigel said the creation of an assistant minister is a welcomed innovation, and puts recycling up in lights as a national issue and opportunity.
“The assistant minister also helps guarantee the delivery of the coalition’s very substantive and useful recycling promises, including infrastructure funding and product stewardship progress.”
In the lead up to this year’s election all three major parties proposed waste and resource recovery policies for the first time.
During the coalition’s election campaign Morrison pledged more than $200 million to increase recycling, reduce waste, protect threatened species and restore waterways and coasts.
Some of the major recycling initiatives included a $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The fund would support manufacturing of lower-emission and energy-efficient recycled content products, such as recycled content plastics, paper and pulp.
An additional $20 million was pledged be put towards a new Product Stewardship Investment Fund for industry-led recycling schemes, while a further $20 million was promised to be put towards plastic recycling and waste solutions through the Cooperative Research Centres Projects grants program.
The coalition also committed $5.8 million for a range of initiatives through the Environment Restoration Fund to support the work of Clean Up Australia, Keep Australia Beautiful, the Australian Council of Recycling, Planet Ark, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation and OzHarvest.
The ministers will be sworn in on Wednesday.
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