Media Releases


November 26, 2020

NSW Labor have demanded urgent change following the NSW Auditor-General’s scathing Waste Levy and Grants for Waste Infrastructure report, released today.
The report found the Government had collected almost $4 billion from residents across the state over the past six years, but only a third of those funds have been invested back into waste and environmental programs.
The levy was designed to reduce landfill, increase recycling and promote broader environmental outcomes – none of which are being achieved under the Liberal-National Government.
The Auditor-General has made a number of recommendations in the report, and NSW Labor will hold the Government to account to ensure these issues are addressed.
The report found:

  • Household recycling rates are 40 per cent below the Government’s own target
  • Commercial and industrial recycling rates are 24 per cent below the Government’s own target
  • The Government has no strategy to guide waste infrastructure investment
  • The Government released a draft waste infrastructure strategy in 2017 for consultation, but it was never adopted or further developed
  • The Government failed to follow conflict of interest processes while awarding grants from the waste levy

Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren, said the Government had used the levy to rip NSW residents off.
“Residents across the state are being taxed billions of dollars through their council rates, but two thirds of the money isn’t being spent on what it is meant for,” Mr Warren said.
“The funding allocated for waste and environmental programs is minuscule compared to the taxes being collected year after year.
“According to the Auditor-General, there are serious questions to answer about this entire grant process. Not only is the Government squirrelling most of this money away, but now we’re told there wasn’t a proper conflict of interest processes in place for the few grants that have been allocated. No wonder recycling in NSW is in such a mess.”

Shadow Minister for Environment, Kate Washington, said that NSW households and our precious environment were paying the price for the Government’s mismanagement.
“The Waste Levy is delivering rivers of gold year after year, but the Liberals and Nationals simply refuse to invest the money in our recycling industry – so residents are taxed more and more, recycling doesn’t improve, and our environment is degraded even further with more landfill than ever," Ms Washington said.    

“The findings are a startling reminder of the greed and mismanagement of this Liberal-National Government. Despite residents paying a ballooning tax, the government is doing very little to tackle the growing mountains of landfill and ongoing plastic pollution.”