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The Grampians Central West regional circular economy plan set out the region's aspirations to 2030 for a sustainable and thriving circular economy.

Representatives from 46 organisations to the plan, including:

  • local government
  • businesses and business associations
  • manufacturers
  • social enterprise
  • the waste and resource recovery industry
  • research and education institutions
  • and the Victorian Government.

They participated in robust discussions and workshops facilitated by the Victorian Government designed to encourage strategic thinking about their region, where they are now, where they want to be by 2030, and how they can work together to get there.

Map of Grampians Central West. Central Highlands - West Wimmera, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Yarriamblack, Northern Grampians. Wimmera South Mallee - Ararat, Pyrenees, Central Goldfields, Hepburn, Ballarat, Moorabool, Golden Plains. Key Central Highland, Wimmera South Mallee. Insert map top right of state of Victoria and purple shade of Grampians Central West region.

Aspirations to 2030

Grampians Central West’s five circular economy aspirations to 2030 are detailed below, along with six important changes, or ‘key enablers’, that have been identified to help realise these aspirations.

By 2030, in Grampians Central West

1. Local demand and supply of recycled materials is strong

Recycled materials have been collected, aggregated, sorted and processed within the Grampians Central West region and meet demand needs of the region.

2. Consumers and manufacturers are informed and empowered

They understand how to maximise the value of a product’s life cycle and reduce waste in designing, producing and consuming products.

3. The circular economy is a key part of life in the region

All sectors of the community have clear roles in the circular economy and are supported to participate in it. The circular economy is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

4. There are clear legislative, policy and funding conditions to drive investment in recycling in the region

This results in higher uptake of the reuse, repair, repurposing and recycling of materials.

5. Regional research and development leads to innovation, pilots and new market entrants in the sector

A range of design, avoidance and alternative waste material uses has been developed to support new market entrants and pilot programs in Grampians Central West.

Key enablers

Grampians Central West key enablers

Regional circular economy Grampians Central West key enablers
Grampians Central West key enablers

Key enablers

Important changes to strengthen our circular economy

Improved infrastructure 16% of priorities.

Developing end use markets 7% of priorities

Improved collaboration and communication 16% of priorities

Behaviour change (industry and consumers) 13% of priorities

Legislation, regulations, or standards reform 29% of priorities

Other key changes including research and development, reskillling and job training 19% of priorities.

Download Grampians Central West key enablers

Priorities to achieve our aspirations

Grampians Central West has developed 31 priorities to achieve their circular economy aspirations to 2030. Each priority has been identified as contributing to one or more aspiration and has been grouped by Key Enablers. Many of the priorities align with current Victorian Government policy, whilst others will be for future consideration.

Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets

Regional circular economy plan Grampians Central West priority table 1 improved infrastructure, developing end use markets
Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets

Key to tables
Aspirations
1 Local demand and supply of recycled materials is strong
2 Consumers and manufacturers are informed and empowered
3 The circular economy is a key part of life in the region
4 There are clear legislative, policy and funding conditions to drive investments in recycling in the region
5 Regional research and development leads to innovation, pilots and new market entrants in the sector
Aligns with Victorian Policy
Aligns Icon symbol of two arrows pointing upwards in a green circle with a line above representing Aligns
For future consideration Icon symbol of one arrow in a circle with a line in an orange circle representing for future considerations

Aspirations Improved infrastructure Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 3 4 Invest in local and regional processing and feedstock storage solutions to sort, clean and keep materials in the region, ready for industry use like the circular economy precinct Ballarat West Employment Zone. Aligns
1 3 4 Establish organics processing facilities across the region to facilitate implementation of mandated services, supply, and predicted demand for upcoming green technologies. Aligns
1 3 4 Expand soft plastic collection and processing capacity throughout the region to divert this resource from landfill. Aligns
1 3 4 Co-locate renewable energy infrastructure with resource recovery and manufacturing processes to support the facilities to operate at a low cost and low environmental impact. For future consideration
1 3 4 Scale up collection, sorting, and processing for glass to take advantage of glass growth as a resource for this region (infrastructure projects). Aligns
Aspirations Developing end use markets Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 3 4 Prioritise local demand for recycled resources before exporting recycled feedstock nationally or internationally to protect and support the local recycling system. Aligns
1 2 3 4 5 Invest in end market use identification programs to find ways to use and replace virgin materials in products. For future consideration

Download Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets

Improved collaboration and communication, Behaviour change industry and consumers

Regional circular economy plan Grampians Central West priority table 2. Improved collaboration and communication, behaviour change industry and consumers
Improved collaboration and communication, Behaviour change industry and consumers
Aspirations Improved collaboration and communication Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 Establish partnerships between local councils to identify suitable locations for regional circular economy precincts to bring together resources and processes, streamlining logistics and building it into the local planning scheme. Aligns
1 2 3 Facilitate existing and new local networks, to bring regional partners together to collaborate and create opportunities to stimulate circular economy advancement, while promoting best practice examples. Aligns
2 Engage with manufacturers to advocate for a reduction in packaging within the local region. Aligns
1 2 3 Bring together existing agency, industry, and community groups to further regional circular economy, climate, biodiversity, and economic recovery initiatives. Aligns
3 4 Establish and coordinate a multi-agency response to deliver regional circular economy, climate, biodiversity, and economic recovery initiatives. Aligns
Aspirations Behaviour change (industry and consumers) Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3

Engage with and raise awareness with consumers about products and packaging that contain recycled material and are easy to reuse, repair and recycle in their region, while restoring their trust in the recycling system.

Aligns
1 2 3 Implement behaviour change programs to embed an appreciation of the value of used materials and products, reduce contamination and increase materials separation. Aligns
2 3 4 Expand and promote community uptake and access to product stewardship programs, both retailers and manufacturers to include problematic waste and collection of packaging For future consideration
2 3 4 Establish accessible community collection points (or services) to collect separated recyclable streams (soft plastics, e-waste). Aligns

Download Improved collaboration and communication, Behaviour change industry and consumers

Legislation, regulations or standards reform and other key changes

Regional circular economy plan Grampians Central West priority table 3. Legislation, regulations or standards reform.  Other key changes research and development reskilling and job training
Legislation, regulations or standards reform and other key changes
Aspirations Legislation, regulations or standards reform Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 Prioritise the use of local recycled resources over virgin materials and products in procurement policies and engineering standards. Aligns
1 2 3 Create economic stimulus to increase collaboration between manufacturing and construction businesses and incentivise replacing virgin materials with locally sourced recycled materials. Aligns
1 3 Specify the use of recycled products through procurement assessment and policy, to increase the use of recovered content, over virgin materials. Aligns
4 5 Improve funding program flexibility to support innovation and focus on outcomes, such as through the provision of ongoing funding support (e.g., evergreen funding), supporting multi-year programs, and re-evaluating, and, where possible, reducing new entrant requirements. For future consideration
1 2 3 4 Develop standards to guide manufacturers in the use of recycled and recyclable content to create demand for reuse, repurposing, repair, and recycling. For future consideration
1 4 Align policy and regulation to support circular economy outcomes and objectives, beyond recycling. Aligns
4 Align the timing of state and federal funding programs with council’s long term capital expenditure programs to strengthen regional investment potential. For future consideration
3 4 Advocate for the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to create a simpler and responsive approach to provide advice on projects in their pre-feasibility phase, to facilitate investment. For future consideration
1 4 Enact legislation to mandate the use or recycled products and materials in government procurement. Aligns
Aspirations Other key changes including research and development, reskillling and job training Aligns with Victorian Policy
2 3 5 Map material feedstock seasons and identify gaps, allowing impacts to be managed to ensure the businesses that rely on processed recovered materials, such as composted organics, have consistent supply. Aligns
1 3 Provide local training opportunities to attract and retain a local workforce to support existing and new market entrants with access to a skilled workforce. Aligns
1 2 3 5 Undertake a materials flow analysis to guide end user investment that the entire region will benefit from (e.g. Ballarat/Grampians model). Aligns
3 5 Foster/facilitate collaboration between universities, vocational education and training providers, agricultural colleges, and agronomists (e.g. Longerenong) to train and upskill workers for the circular economy. Aligns
1 2 3 5 Establish a centre of excellence to coordinate ideas, research, pilots and communication between industry and research institutions to develop local circular economy opportunities and address local issues. For your consideration
1 2 3 5 Conduct research between product designers, manufacturers, and the waste industry to understand the waste profile of products, to manufacture with recycled content and to design products that are easy to repair and recycle, and preferences for manufacturing. Aligns

Download Legislation, regulations or standards reform and other key changes

Grampians Central West today

Grampians Central West today

Regional circular economy Grampians Central West region today
Grampians Central West today

Grampians Central West today

icon image population, 270,807 current population 2020
icon image square blocks, $12.7 billion gross regional product 2020
icon image rubbish bin, 20,254 tonnes. Kerbside recycling collected 2019 - 2020

Central Highlands

icon image population,223,700 current population 2020
icon image square blocks, $10.2 billion gross regional product 2020
icon image rubbish bin, 16,265 tonnes kerbside recycling collected 2019 - 2020

Wimmera Southern Mallee
icon image population, 47,107 current population 2020
icon image square blocks, $2.5 billion gross regional product 2020
icon image rubbish bin, 3,989 tonnes kerbside recycling collected 2019 - 2020

Download Grampians Central West today

Grampians Central West representatives developed the region's circular economy aspirations and priorities. The representatives brought a local understanding of the region’s strengths and challenges. They considered ‘where we are today’ as a region, before projecting forward to ‘where we want to be’ in 2030 and beyond.

The process identified the region's key strengths. These strengths will help the region work towards their 2030 aspirations.

The region covers a large geographic area. This includes the sub-regions of the Central Highlands and Wimmera Southern Mallee.

The Central Highlands has a concentrated population close to Melbourne metro areas. The sub region has high-capacity transport connections, as well as good access to end markets for recycled materials.

In Wimmera Southern Mallee, and across the region, there is interest from the agricultural sector in increasing local capacity for processing recycled organics.

The region's council areas are standardising recycled material streams. This is expected to improve access to material quality and increase opportunities for end use markets.

Refer to Victoria's Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS)External Link for in-depth economic analysis.

Strengths

  • Current trials and new projects underway demonstrate value of circular economy initiatives e.g. Ballarat West Employment Zone.
  • Interest from the agricultural sector to increase the capacity of recycled organics processing.
  • Proximity to Melbourne with high-capacity transport connections to transport recycled products to markets outside the region.
  • Councils standardising waste streams as per the new state government policy position will improve sorting and reduce contamination.

Grampians Central West in 2030

Grampians Central West in 2030

Regional circular economy Grampians Central West region in 2030
Grampians Central West in 2030

Grampians Central West in 2030

icon image project population, 306,809 projected population 2031
income image projected percentage increase 2021 to 2031, 13% increase

Central Highlands

icon image project population, 261,756 projected population 2031
income image projected percentage increase 2021 to 2031, 17% increase

Wimmera South Mallee

icon image project population, 45,053 projected population 2031
income image projected percentage increase 2021 to 2031, 4% increase

Download Grampians Central West in 2030

Grampian Central West representatives also considered the region’s challenges.They developed the region’s circular economy priorities to mitigate these challenges.

The region faces challenges with low economies of scale for some recycled material streams. Infrastructure can be hard to access. There are large distances between processing and manufacturing facilities. It can also be expensive to access small processing facilities.

There are barriers to supporting innovative circular economy outcomes. This includes securing government funding and limited council staff resources. Existing long term government contracts can also be a challenge.

By 2030, the Grampians Central West region is forecast to be home to 306,809 people, increasing by 13% from 2021 to 2031. Only Central Highlands is forecast to grow, by 17 percent. Wimmera South Mallee is forecast to decrease by 4 percent.

Higher rates of waste and recyclable materials are likely where populations increase. This will increase demand for sorting, processing, and storage infrastructure. Increased material transport out of the region will place added pressure on regional roads.

Some areas that are not forecast to increase their populations may continue not to need household collection. This could present a challenge for local councils and industry aiming to divert materials from landfill.

Refer to Victoria's Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS)External Link for in-depth economic analysis.

Challenges

  • Low economies of scale of some waste streams, high relative costs of small processing facilities, which reduce the cost effectiveness of recycling.
  • Issues with existing infrastructure, including power grid and transport distances to some districts discouraging investment in processing and manufacturing facilities.
  • Lack of locations available for sorting and processing purposes, particularly for smaller projects.
  • Lack of staff resources and high costs prevent councils from pursuing circular economy projects.
  • Set up of current contract lengths, five-to-10 years prevent market competition could stifle innovation and the success of new projects.
  • Current grant application process and approval framework for funding of new projects discourages interest and innovation.
  • Waste streams such as food and garden organics waste are prone to contamination.

Grampians Central West regional circular economy plan

Engagement Program Summary Report

For more information on the Engagement Program refer to the regional circular economy plans engagement summary report.

Reviewed 05 December 2022

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