Coalition to promise $200 million in pitch to voters on the environment


The biggest single part of the plan is the use of $100 million from the CEFC to go into a “recycling investment fund” that will help fund manufacturing projects.

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Behind the initiative is the concern that a big shift in Chinese national policy has stopped shipments of recycled material from Australia to manufacturers that would otherwise take glass, plastics, paper and metal.

The finance will be available for companies that make recycled products such as plastics, paper and pulp so they can shift to manufacturing that produces fewer carbon emissions or results in more energy-efficient material.

As with other CEFC programs, the funding will be offered as concessional loans to help achieve an environmental outcome.

The remaining $103 million in the environment package mostly consists of grant funding rather than finance, including $10 million through the government’s existing Environment Restoration Fund to create “safe havens” for threatened native species.

The koalas of South East Queensland and northern NSW will be protected with a $6 million grant for Australia Zoo, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Queensland RSPCA.

Separate programs will receive $6 million to protect Western Australia’s black cockatoos, the Bruny Island eastern quolls and the endangered Dunnart on Kangaroo Island.

Another $20 million will be put into a “product stewardship fund” to encourage industry recycling schemes for products like batteries, electrical products, solar cells and plastic oil containers.

The existing Cooperative Research Centres will gain $20 million in grants for research into plastic recycling and waste.

The announcement will also include $16 million to support the Pacific Ocean Litter Project, working with our Pacific neighbours to reduce plastics and other waste in our oceans. This component of the package will come from an unallocated portion of the existing foreign aid budget.

Mr Morrison will also announce $5.8 million in new funding for not-for-profit groups including Clean Up Australia, Keep Australia Beautiful, the Australian Council of Recycling, Planet Ark, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation and OzHarvest.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg estimated the government’s Environment Restoration Fund was putting $15 million toward urban waterways and coastal rivers, including the Yarra River parts of Port Phillip Bay.

David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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