JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH MATT WILLIAMS, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HINDMARSH
The Federal Government has stepped in to help save 140 jobs at Aspitech which were on the verge of being lost due to incompetence by the previous Labor government.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Member for Hindmarsh Matt Williams today visited the Aspitech warehouse to make the announcement and meet with workers and their families.
Aspitech is an Australian Disability Enterprise that employs 140 workers. The organisation provides e-waste recycling services as part of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.
“Aspitech recently lost a recycling contract and this left the organisation in severe financial distress. This was a result of the scheme’s poor design and implementation by the previous Labor government, and states and territories,” said Minister Hunt.
Reverse e-waste, an industry co-regulator, has signed up major computer and television retailers and is now in the process of finalising a contract with Aspitech to enable it to continue e-waste recycling into the future.
“This is very exciting news for the workers at Aspitech. Jobs have been saved because we’ve stepped in to fix the previous government’s mess,” said Minister Hunt.
“We’ve been working with industry to secure the new recycling contract for Aspitech.”
“But the problems facing Aspitech aren’t isolated. A number of disability enterprises are facing financial difficulty due to the poor design of the scheme.”
“We didn’t create the problem, but we’re committed to fixing it.”
“Tomorrow I will sit down with all industry co-regulators to discuss the problems facing the sector and to work towards finding solutions.”
“I’d like to thank Matt Williams for standing up for jobs at Aspitech. Matt is a committed local member and he’s worked hard to highlight problems facing the sector.”
Federal Member for Hindmarsh, Matt Williams, said the South Australian Government was to blame for making a bad situation worse.
“The South Australian Government has failed to take responsibility for its share of recycling and instead dumped the waste onto a disability enterprise to deal with,” said Mr Williams.
“Dumping these costs onto an organisation that employs workers with a disability is an absolute disgrace and it’s caused significant financial harm.”
To help support Aspitech, the Commonwealth is providing ongoing funding to support 75 employees at the disability enterprise.
“The Coalition Government is doing the right thing by workers in South Australia. I call on the SA government to act responsibly and immediately step in and support e-waste recycling services,” said Mr Williams.
“The Coalition is committed to fixing Labor’s poorly designed scheme and securing the long-term future for the e-waste recycling sector.”
The Commonwealth is also undertaking a review of the scheme’s design and operation, which will consider if all states and territories are making a sufficient contribution towards the e-waste recycling industry.
States, territories and local governments are currently responsible for 65 per cent of the e-waste generated in Australia and retain constitutional responsibility for all waste management.
The remaining 35 per cent of e-waste is processed at the expense of industry under a product stewardship scheme. This percentage is increasing over time.
Australian Disability Enterprises, along with other enterprises, are contracted by industry to recycle e-waste. These are contracts between industry and private enterprise which do not involve the Commonwealth.
Consumers are able to take e-waste to disposal sites run by these organisations around the country.
These sites are often receiving more than the 35 per cent share that industry is taking responsibility for. This results in disability and industry groups being burdened with e-waste that is the responsibility of the states and territories.