Gippsland is well placed to lead the state in developing a new circular economy, with jobs in waste and recycling replacing jobs lost in traditional industry, according to the Committee for Gippsland (C4G).
The idea is raised in a submission to the Victorian Government, which is developing a circular economy policy and action plan for the state. In a circular economy, people minimise waste and make the most of resources, helping to grow the economy, increase jobs and reduce impacts on the environment.
C4G said community education campaigns and incentives to reduce landfill and increase the recovery of resources are among things required to help build a circular economy in Gippsland.
“However the region would welcome an opportunity to lead the state in this area, training and transitioning workers from traditional industries into exciting new roles in new industries”, C4G chief executive officer Jane Oakley said.
“Gippsland is well placed to accommodate large-scale industrial precincts to foster a vibrant, sustainable circular economy,” Ms Oakley said.
“As our region transitions from its heavy reliance on brown coal power production, a circular economy would create new industries requiring skilled engineering and technical roles. This is a major opportunity to transition our traditional energy sector workforce into these new roles, while working with Federation University and TAFE Gippsland to design curricula to build future workforce skills.”
Gippsland offered numerous opportunities to support the move to a circular economy including a skilled workforce, transport and logistics capability, industrial landscapes and precincts, and existing capability in organics reprocessing, paper and cardboard recycling, and emerging energy from waste technology.
The region also had the ability to develop and deliver the training and development pathways required to reskill workers to move into the new roles.
C4G said the government could assist by increasing infrastructure investment in regional areas; helping to map the region’s current capabilities; reviewing standards that restrict the use of recycled products in manufacturing; and investing in skills required by a future workforce.
“We also encourage the government to consider a model that supports the use and processing of recyclable materials, making it cost competitive for industry to source recyclables and/or reprocess materials, rather than buying them new,” Ms Oakley said. “We believe there is a high level of community appetite for such investment.”
Several Gippsland businesses were already exploring innovative ways to use recycled materials to reduce cost and environmental impacts, she said.
C4G was established in 2011 to give its members, around 100 Gippsland-based businesses and community organisations, a cohesive and influential voice to positively influence government and other key decision-makers. It represents all industry sectors and takes a whole-of-region approach,
working to influence state and federal government policy to attract funding and achieve outcomes that benefit the Gippsland region.
The Victorian Government’s circular economy policy aims to find new ways for Victorian businesses and communities to use materials more efficiently and avoid waste in all stages of making, using and disposing of the products and infrastructure we rely on every day.Download C4G supports circular economy in Victoria