"Pathetic" - Councillor slams Australia's recycling inaction

Mount Alexander Shire's Cr Christine Henderson with a pile of recyclables at Castlemaine landfill site last week. Cr Henderson wants federal leadership to address the nation's big waste and recycling challenges.

Mount Alexander Shire's Cr Christine Henderson with a pile of recyclables at Castlemaine landfill site last week. Cr Henderson wants federal leadership to address the nation's big waste and recycling challenges.

Mount Alexander Shire Council has joined calls for a federal government inquiry into the future of waste and recycling in Australia with a local councillor slamming the nation's recycling inaction as "pathetic" at last week's council meeting.

Meantime, the federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters says the nation's recycling and waste management is at crisis level and federal leadership is needed.

This follows Macedon Ranges Shire Council's call for the Australian Local Government Association to use its national assembly in Canberra next month to lobby the federal government for an inquiry into the future of waste and recycling in Australia.

At Tuesday night's Mount Alexander Shire Council meeting Cr Christine Henderson presented a motion in support of the Macedon Ranges' move.

Cr Henderson's motion called for council to write to Ms Chesters and to all Victorian senators requesting their support for the move.

"We don't have a recycling industry in this country. We do nothing with it. We are pathetic," Cr Henderson said.

"I think we're just funding bigger and bigger warehouses. The federal and state governments have been doing a bit of thinking ... but until they put a price on packaging we're just going to go on having too much packaging and too much rubbish.

"It requires action at a federal level otherwise we're going to be drowning in our own rubbish."

Cr Henderson noted that no additional funds had been provided in either the recent state or federal budgets to address the issue that gained greater public awareness following this year's Chinese decision to no longer receive or process Australian recyclables.

Seconding Cr Henderson's motion, Cr Dave Petrusma said the issue needed to be urgently addressed.

"It's definitely long overdue that governments of all persuasions look into recycling," Cr Petrusma said.

"It's a bit of a mess at the moment and local government has been copping the brunt of it and you and I are paying for it."

The Macedon Ranges motion calls on the federal government for a policy shift toward regarding waste as a resource as an active first step toward establishing a sustainable and viable waste and recycling resource recovery industry in Australia.

Following the meeting Lisa Chesters MP told the Midland Express she fully supported the council's stance

"I completely support it and am 100 per cent behind it. I firmly believe that Australia needs to take responsibility for its own waste," Ms Chesters said.

"We shouldn't be sending our recycling to China. We should be managing it ourselves. For far too long the federal government has said it's a state and local government issue. It is not. It's been left to the responsibility of local government alone and it's a nationwide problem.

"This is now a crisis and we do need to have national leadership on this issue."