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The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) and the Boomerang Alliance recycling campaign group have released a list of five policy priorities for the federal election.

ACOR and Boomerang have slammed governments for “cheap” talk in a joint statement outlining their priorities, saying the delay has been “prohibitively expensive for the environment, business, local councils and the community”.

The two groups have unveiled their “five big policies” for the next Commonwealth government, including $150 million to be invested in a National Recycling Industry Development Fund, plus clean energy funds to build a domestic recycling industry; tax incentives for a “buy recycled” program to help business and industry meet an average of 30 per cent recycled products by 2025; strengthening the Product Stewardship Act on imported packaging; adopting a plastic pollution reduction strategy within six months of the election; and developing new national data metrics on waste and litter.

According to Peter Shmigel, CEO of ACOR, Australian recycling is currently in dire straits and urgently needs reform.

“With Asian markets for recyclable materials from Australia closing down and local governments confronted with potentially sending their kerbside recycling to landfill, it's time to recognise that the system Australians value is greatly under threat.

“The National Waste Policy (NWP), recently agreed upon with all States, tries to set out an agenda for the future, but its aims cannot be achieved without investment and policy support,” he said.

Jeff Angel, director of the Boomerang Alliance, also drew attention to what he called a plastic pollution “epidemic”.

“Australia must play its part in breaking that excessive plastic habit. Without concerted and effective action, Australia is set to go back 50 years to the days when waste was dumped or burned and the only things recycled were the bottles collected for a refund,” he said.

The two groups have called on all political parties to support their policy proposals.

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