Member for Western Victoria James Purcell has secured a promise to explore the feasibility of establishing a recycling facility at Mortlake, saying it is the best long-term solution for the region's waste issues.
This week Mr Purcell asked the Government to investigate the feasibility of building a sorting and processing plant north of Mortlake, which could remove contaminants and process material to a higher level for export or use in local manufacturing.
"I am delighted with todays announcement of a $13 million package for councils and industry to support the ongoing kerbside collection of household recyclable waste," said Mr Purcell.
"But we need a long term solution and Minister Jennings has indicated that the Mortlake proposal may have legs, with funding from a sustainability fund that hasn't been fully utilised.
"A new Mortlake recycling plant will be reviewed by a committee charged with investigating options for allocating this fund."
The Mortlake solution, proposed by Deakin University's Trevor Thornton, would use advanced technology to bring Australia's recycling systems up to speed with Japan and Europe.
Mr Purcell will link Deakin with government to pursue this outcome.
"Building an industry that allows us to take care of our own waste, rather than shipping it off shore, makes sense.
"And it brings jobs and opportunity into our region, which is a huge advantage in my mind."
The recycling industry in Victoria is already significant, contributing about $2.2 billion worth of economic activity across the state. Products generated through recycling in Victoria have an export value of about $300 million, and the industry employs 8000 people.
Recent import bans from China have created serious problems for south-west councils who have to date been reliant on exporting recyclable materials.
"If our councils can be held to ransom by foreign government policy changes then we need to make sure we have the capacity to look after this ourselves.
"No one wants to see this stuff end up in landfill. This is a prime opportunity to create a positive long-term solution.
"There is no doubt we have urgent need for some short-term solutions to prevent material currently being collected ending up in landfill and I will continue to work with government to ensure we avoid this and come up with a solution that will benefit all in the south-west."