In Parliament

Adjournment - VISY


Thursday, 14 November 2019.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (17:25):

My adjournment matter this evening is to the Premier, and the action I seek is an update on whether the government intends to support Visy’s proposal to expand their capacity to enable them to manage all of Victoria’s mixed paper recyclables. Victorians are sustainably minded, and the community expect their policymakers to both value and support sustainability. Visy is one of the most prominent privately owned businesses operating in this policy space; it is an Australian success story. On average each year Visy processes recyclables from 3 million Australian households and businesses. One of the most striking features of the business is that over time they have been innovative and adapted sustainable solutions into their business model.

Visiting the company recently I watched recyclables being delivered to their Springvale recycling material recovery facility. Each day the site processes 550 tonnes of material, with paper and cardboard then shipped to Visy’s Coolaroo facility. Coolaroo is a wastepaper and recycling waste management facility. The site processes between 450 and 500 tonnes each day. One of the significant features of the Coolaroo facility is a cogeneration plant. The $50 million facility has the capacity to generate thermal and electric energy from residual waste— energy that helps operate the plant. The company is committed to local industry and has invested $2 billion over 10 years in the cardboard and paper business. This will create 5000 jobs in the Melbourne area. The Coolaroo site, which includes paper mills, cogeneration and a box plant, has proven successful for Visy, and they are ready to expand their capacity to process more mixed paper.

In August the Council of Australian Governments agreed to ban the exportation of paper and cardboard. Unless policymakers act, mixed paper, which makes up 50 per cent of our recycling bin, will go to landfill. Last year Visy approached the Premier personally and sought his support for the expansion. You would expect, with the Premier stating that ‘no-one should underestimate our commitment’ to investing in renewables, Visy’s proposal would have been embraced, especially when other states appear keen to entice the company into their own jurisdiction. Almost a year after making the approach, the company still waits. Here is an opportunity to support a proven industry leader to expand their capacity and help manage Victoria’s mixed paper in a sustainable way. I look forward to the Premier’s response.