Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (12:47): My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and Minister for Solar Homes, the Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio. Applications are now open for a more than $11.3 million funding package. Part of this package is the $5.4 million Recycling Victoria Communities Fund. Through this funding we are supporting charities, social enterprises and community organisations to lead re-use, repair and share projects. My question to the minister is: can the minister provide an update on how local organisations, social enterprises and charities in the Western Metropolitan Region prepare their projects to receive funding for this vital initiative? This program will help Victorians find smarter ways to minimise, repurpose and appropriately dispose of waste and prevent the dumping of unwanted household goods. This is part of Recycling Victoria’s new economic initiative. The 10-year, $380 million investment and action plan will transform Victoria’s waste and recycling system, create thousands of jobs and set us up for a sustainable future.
Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (19 February 2021):
While Victorians are committed recyclers, we need to think beyond what we put in our bins and start to focus on how we can make a difference in our communities by focusing on what we buy, reuse or repair. Every purchase we make affects our environment, and so every Victorian can help to make the shift to a circular economy. A circular economy continually seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, it allows us to avoid waste with good design and effective recovery of materials that can be reused.
Community-based organisations will play an important role in leading the change to a circular economy. They are well placed to identify and develop local circular economy projects that enable communities to share, repair, loan and buy second-hand goods. They can help communities to choose waste-free products, reuse materials, and maintain and repair the goods that we have. They can support people to buy products that are durable, repairable, recyclable or made from recycled materials. All of these practices will help Victorians to save money and unlock value for our broader economy.
The Recycling Victoria Communities Fund supports community-based projects that empower the community to reduce waste. Grants of up to $250,000 are available to community groups, social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and charities for projects that reduce waste generation, reduce waste to landfill, or that reduce sources of plastic pollution, litter and illegal dumping. Projects could include initiatives like repair cafes, local tool sharing schemes or workshops to teach people mending skills.
The grants are currently open on the Sustainability Victoria website at https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/Grants-and-funding/Recycling-Victoria-Communities-Fund. The first round of grants closes on 12 March 2021. I would encourage any interested parties from the Western Metropolitan Region and all across Victoria to visit the website for more information on the funding and eligibility, and to access the grant application guidelines and online application form.
The Victorian Government is delivering the biggest transformation and reform of Victoria’s waste and recycling system in our states history. Our record investment of $515 million will create thousands of jobs, reduce waste to landfill and deliver a waste and recycling system that Victorians can rely on.