Regional Development Australia will receive $150,000 in funding from the Federal Government and $50,000 from the Queensland Government to assess the viability of a plastics industry in Far North Queensland.
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the funding signalled the Morrison Government’s commitment to establishing new recycling infrastructure in rural and regional Australia that would see numerous economic and environmental benefits for the region.
“This funding recognises our need to build diverse industries beyond tourism while creating new jobs for Far North Queensland,” Mr Entsch said.
“If we can establish a plastics industry in an area like Far North Queensland that will see us process locally generated waste resources into useful value-added products for community benefit, including local jobs, then we can roll this out to other regional and remote communities across Australia.
“But most importantly it’s good for the environment. Better managed waste means less litter and debris ending up in our precious oceans, reefs and beaches.”
Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said: “this project is expected to guide future government investment decisions in regional areas and is concrete evidence of the Australian Government’s strong commitment to finding practical on-the-ground solutions to managing our recycling and waste.”
Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said establishing new plastics industries in Queensland provided a once in a generation opportunity to improve waste management and recycling capability as Australia moves to take care of its own waste.
“There are around three times as many jobs in recycling as landfill, so increasing our resource recovery is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the economy,” Minister Enoch said.
“We’re committed to improving Queensland’s recycling rate so that we can reach our target of 75% recycling by 2050.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy MP said the project was good news for the future of Cairns.
“This could lead to more recycling jobs in Cairns, which is great news for the local community.
“The vast majority of plastic waste from north Queensland is currently sorted and freighted to larger population centres for processing. Recycled products are then bought back generating more freight costs and emissions from transport.
“If we could see that work done locally, it has the potential to reshape recycling for Far North Queensland and generate more jobs right here,” Mr Healy said.