Delivering a future remade in Australia

The Albanese Labor Government is using its purchasing power to generate strong local demand for recycled goods, cut waste and drive Australia’s transition to a circular economy.

Delivering on an election commitment, the Government has today launched Australia’s first national Environmentally Sustainable Procurement Policy which aligns with recommendations from the Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group interim report.

The policy will be phased in. From 1 July 2024, businesses bidding for government construction services projects above $7.5 million must meet agreed sustainability outcomes. These could include cutting or repurposing waste and replacing single-use materials with recycled materials.

From 1 July 2025, the policy will extend to tenders for textiles, ICT goods, and furniture, fittings and equipment above $1 million. It may include requirements to recover and recycle worn out uniforms that can be processed into new materials.

The project categories were chosen for their high impacts on nature and their immense potential in providing work for Australia’s domestic recycling industry.

At its heart, this policy is about delivering a future remade in Australia – remaking, remanufacturing and recycling more goods to boost jobs while better protecting the environment.

This procurement policy was developed in consultation with construction services companies and industry peak bodies. In the first year, it will apply to two per cent of Australian Government construction services procurement contracts but capture 50 per cent of the value of all these contracts.

This policy establishes, for the first time, a measurement and reporting framework to track environmental outcomes. The project categories have verification measures in place. About 60 per cent of Australian Government suppliers already collect sustainability data for their products.

The Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group interim report, also released today, recommends ways the Government can boost the country’s domestic manufacturing capabilities through reuse, repair and recycling, including:  

  • A Productivity Commission Inquiry to investigate how resource efficiency supports economic growth.
  • Developing a National Circular Economy Framework and a power to set specific circularity standards for products and materials.
  • Introducing a national ‘recycled content first’ policy to drive recycled content markets.
  • Setting up sector-based circular economy targets and embed circular economy principles in key climate policies.

Announced by Minister Plibersek last year, the Advisory Group is chaired by Professor John Thwaites AM, Professorial Fellow at Monash University and Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Climateworks Centre.

The policy and interim report are available at:
Environmentally Sustainable Procurement Policy and Reporting Framework - DCCEEW
Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group - DCCEEW

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek:

“The Albanese Labor Government is leading a national transition to a circular economy and the new report clearly shows us the opportunities for Australia - including a boost to our domestic manufacturing capabilities.

“This will deliver a future remade in Australia, creating opportunities and demand for goods to be recycled and remanufactured right here. It’s a win for business, and a win for the environment.

“Our national procurement policy will cut waste to landfill, help boost recycling and reduce emissions – all while supporting good, local jobs.

“Just as many Australians look for recycled content or environmentally friendly products at the supermarket, the Australian Government will use our purchasing power to back cleaner, smarter, more environmentally sustainable businesses.

“We’re giving business the confidence to invest in products that support a circular economy, without the green tape. This is important work that will help leave nature better off for our kids and grandkids.”

Quotes attributable to Professor John Thwaites, Chair, Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group:

“I am pleased to present our interim report, encapsulating our initial advice to the Australian Government on opportunities to drive Australia’s transition to a circular economy.

“The report shows how essential circular economy actions are for reducing waste, pollution and carbon emissions. Our recommendations will incentivise innovation and shape new markets for circular economy products.

“Industry has told us that they want clear regulation that supports recycling and the circular economy and gives business the confidence to invest.

“The circular economy can help drive productivity and economic growth in Australia by using materials and resources more efficiently.”