26 September 2023

APS to step up role in plastics war

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The Australian Public Service (APS) will need to consider environmental sustainability and use of recycled materials in changes to procurement rules foreshadowed by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison this week.

Speaking at the National Plastics Summit at Parliament House in Canberra, Mr Morrison (pictured) outlined how the APS could play its part amid a multi-faceted plan to reduce plastic waste and build demand for recycled products.

“We will be strengthening the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to make sure every procurement undertaken by a Commonwealth Agency considers environmental sustainability and the use of recycled content as a factor in determining value for money,” Mr Morrison said.

“We’ve used Commonwealth procurement policy to energise our Indigenous businesses and we’ve had tremendous success…and we’re having success by using the way the Commonwealth spends money to actually support those changes.”

He said a change in APS procurement direction toward sustainability would mean businesses could then invest in the technology, processing and systems required to respond to the resulting demand.

“Across Australia we are seeing tremendous innovation — recycled fence posts, crash barriers and noise walls built from recycled materials and so much more,” Mr Morrison said.

“These are all things that Governments actually get involved in buying and procuring which can underwrite, effectively, the market.”

He said a key part of the initiative would be to encourage scientists across Australia — in both the private and public sectors — to work with international partners to develop more attractive recyclable products.

“When that happens you’re really starting to move,” Mr Morrison said.

“Meaningful change will be multi-faceted, and there is much to do,” he said.

“Of course it will require education, changes in behaviour, but most importantly, a willingness by all of us to step up.”

He thanked the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment “for ensuring we are doing the practical things that are necessary to drive the change that we all want to see”.

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