THE state government will invest $6.8 million in regional waste infrastructure and $815,000 in recycling bins across regional Victoria, it announced yesterday.
Environment Minister Ryan Smith was in Bendigo discussing the initiatives.
He said regional councils across the state could apply for grants to upgrade the technology used at landfills so they were more environmentally friendly.
As for the recycling scheme, the government would give the City of Greater Bendigo about $98,000 to invest in recycling bins in public areas,
“Victorians are good at recycling at home but don’t have the opportunity to do this in parks and public areas,” Mr Smith said.
“By investing in recycling bins for public places we’re removing valuable waste from landfill.
“This is another important initiative by the Coalition government that will help create a healthier and safer environment.”
But while local environmental groups praised the new initiatives, they were scathing of the Coalition’s overall performance relating to the environment.
Bendigo District and Environment Council convener Stuart Fraser said the Coalition’s environmental policies were “horrible”.
He said the deregulation of firewood collection under the state government meant Bendigo’s box-ironbark forests were being indiscriminately logged by “unscrupulous individuals”.
He also said the policy had "retarded" the local firewood industry.
“I thought they wouldn’t allow the destruction of industry," he said.
Environment Victoria acting chief executive Mark Wakeham said the state government had “presided over the dismantling of Victoria’s entire policy agenda for dealing with climate change”.
But Mr Smith defended his government’s environmental record.
“Environment Victoria think if we’re not closing the Hazelwood Power Station we’re not doing our jobs properly,” Mr Smith said.
“We’re driven by the idea of making tangible outcomes for communities, not ideology."