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Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Page: 2625

Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (19:45): Following Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday and our first National Plastics Summit, held in Canberra this week, I'd like to reflect on some of the great work being done both nationally and in my electorate of Robertson to encourage recycling and help close the loop on plastics. I'm proud to be part of a government which is driving Australia's waste recycling industry forward by investing almost $20 million in a series of initiatives that will create new jobs, grow our economy and help our environment. The global recycled plastics market is expected to grow at 7.9 per cent annually over the next decade and be worth almost $67 billion in 2025. The capacity for job creation is significant with investment in the recycling industry. For every 10,000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill, around three direct jobs are created. But, if we recycle the same waste, we can create approximately nine jobs directly.

I'm so pleased that recycling and our use of plastics are topics of strong national focus, with Monday's inaugural National Plastics Summit a very clear example. It was really encouraging to hear that more than 200 representatives from industry, government, schools and community came together to discuss ways to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling. One of the key industry pledges made during the summit on Monday was Pact Group's $500 million investment in sustainable packaging re-use and recycling initiatives. SULO, a subsidiary of Pact Group, has a manufacturing plant located in Somersby in my electorate of Robertson. This plant is best known for manufacturing plastic wheelie bins which are used in homes across the country to help support recycling. SULO is already using 40 per cent recycled material to manufacture these wheelie bins, and it was fantastic to hear on Monday that Pact Group have set a goal to increase this to 80 per cent by 2025. I commend Pact Group for playing their part in closing the loop on plastics.

Local primary school students from the Central Coast are also doing their bit, joining Central Coast Council's pilot program with Plastic Police to help build roads out of soft plastics. Streets outside St Patrick's Catholic Primary School in East Gosford and Budgewoi Public School were recently renewed using the road resurfacing product Reconophalt, with students contributing plastic waste from lunch boxes and classrooms. A total of four Central Coast roads have been upgraded with the road base. Melbourne Street in East Gosford alone utilised more than 300,000 plastics bags, 56,000 glass bottles and toner from almost 7,000 used printer cartridges.

Living in a community with many beaches, I'm too often reminded of the devastating effect plastic has on our oceans and sea life. Sadly, every year eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans. Thankfully, the Central Coast has a number of local organisations working hard to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in our waterways and harming our marine life. For example, the Central Coast not-for-profit Clean4Shore has spent the last decade collecting hundreds of tonnes of plastic from waterways and wetlands. Graeme—or Jono, as he's well known by—Johnston's award-winning program partners with schools, youth and social service organisations and businesses to clean up marine debris. Clean4Shore conducts approximately 110 field trips a year in a number of waterways right across the Central Coast, and on Clean Up Australia Day Jono ran a field trip with the Gosford Girl Guides and Brisbane Water, where they managed to collect 20 bags of waste, mainly soft plastic and food wrappings. The total waste dropped to the tip after the field trip was a massive 180 kilograms. The federal government has been able to help continue funding the important work of Clean4Shore by committing $300,000 under the Environment Restoration Fund.

Another local Central Coast based initiative is Take 3 for the Sea, a local organisation leading the world in taking action on plastic pollution and waste. Their premise is simple and effective—ask anyone who visits a beach or waterway to pick up three pieces of rubbish—and in 10 years the Take 3 for the Sea community has expanded to over 300,000 people in 129 countries. I take this opportunity to recognise the work of co-founder Tim Silverwood, who is stepping down from the role of CEO to work as a Take 3 ambassador. The Take 3 initiative has grown significantly under his excellent leadership, and I look forward to working with his replacement, Sarah Beard.

In closing, Australia must invest in technology and innovation in the plastic recycling industry, and the Morrison government is leading the way to make this vision a reality. We have an incredible opportunity to make plastic recycling a cornerstone of growing our economy and creating our jobs while reducing our negative impact on the planet.