President’s column – 26 February 2021

This week, it was a pleasure to visit Mayors and elected members from the Albury, Greater Hume, Wagga Wagga, Temora Shire, Lachlan Shire, and Federation councils to better understand the challenges local government is facing.

With global waste bans looming, we’re focused on getting results for you to enable to you manage waste and recycling.

I have been pleased to meet with both Minister for Environment, Sussan Ley, and the Assistant Federal Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans – to welcome the Federal Government’s focus on this issue, and to urge them to ensure councils are funded to grow local opportunities to create a more circular economy in every region in Australia.

Collecting, treating, and disposing of Australian domestic waste costs local government an estimated $3.5 billion annually, and it is gratifying that waste management and recycling is getting the attention it merits.

Our pre-Budget submission calls for funding of $100 million a year for four years to help you manage this issue.

In recent weeks, as a result of ALGA and State and Territory association advocacy, significant new co-funded investment agreements have been announced to ramp up the capacity and capability of recycling infrastructure – the first outcomes of the Commonwealth’s $194 million Recycling Modernisation Fund announced last year.

It is important to note that the Federal Government is considering a uniform approach to garbage collection enforcing a national, uniform system of bins.

We understand that national harmonisation of waste collections would potentially lead to cleaner waste streams, but for local governments, without significant funding and a long implementation period, this would be a serious challenge.

National standards are but one aspect of the complex and inter-related actions that will be needed to reduce waste going to landfills, increase recycling and recovery rates, and build a circular economy – the others being:

  • Product stewardship;
  • Infrastructure investment;
  • Government procurement targets for products with recycled content; and
  • Consumer awareness and education;

ALGA is engaged on all these fronts on your behalf,  finalising a submission to the current review of the Used Packaging Materials National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) and the Australian Packaging Covenant.

If you have a contribution to this submission or any questions, please contact

Linda Scott,
ALGA President