Expert group guiding Australia to a circular economy

A new ministerial advisory group has been appointed and will meet for the first time in February to discuss Australia’s transition to a circular economy by 2030.

The Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group was established to advise government on the opportunities and challenges in making this transition.

Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek has announced new appointments to the group, which is led by its inaugural Chair Professor John Thwaites AM.

Tackling waste, particularly plastics, and moving to a circular economy quickly and efficiently is a priority for the Government.

At the recent Environment Ministers’ Meeting late last year, all Australian Environment Ministers committed to working with the private sector and industry to design out waste and pollution, keep materials in use, and foster markets to achieve a circular economy by 2030. 

There has been progress towards these goals, but more action is needed to prevent waste, improve product design, and build more efficient production processes. 

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

“Australians want to do their bit to reduce their waste, recycle household products and lighten their impact on the planet. Reducing waste – particularly plastic waste – is a priority for the Government.

“However, a circular economy is more than just better recycling systems. It’s about designing out waste from the start. Making sure that new products are designed to last longer, to be reused and repaired, and able to have all parts recyclable at the end of the product’s life.

“More than seventy percent of environmental impacts are locked in at the design stage, before a consumer ever purchases a product, and well before we even consider its disposal or reuse. 

“I’m excited about the economic opportunities of a circular economy. Australia can be a global leader in technology, innovation, design, materials and processes. By taking the lead, we can create good local jobs using extraordinary Australian creativity.

“Keeping waste out of landfill supports jobs at three times the rate of dumping it.

“It’s these types of issues – and the actions we can take – that the expert Circular Economy Advisory Group will be so important for.

“The group has an impressive range of skills and knowledge, and their outstanding expertise reflect the whole-of supply-chain focus of the circular economy.

“We have a big task ahead of us, however with the Circular Economy Advisory Group, the work of state and territory Environment Ministers, and strong industry leadership – we will get there.”

Quotes attributable to the Inaugural Chair of the Advisory Group, John Thwaites:

“There are good things happening in waste and recycling but much more needs to be done to strengthen our circular economy.

“By developing our circular economy, we reduce waste and pollution, we get more value out of materials in our economy, and we put our economy on a more sustainable footing for growth over the long-term.

“We’ve brought together some of the best and brightest minds from industry, academia and the scientific community to advise on the best path forward. 

"We’ll be looking at the most impactful policies and actions that government and industry can pursue to advance our circular economy.

“I look forward to working with the Advisory Group and the Minister to ensure we provide impactful advice to government.”