Returning today’s food and garden organic waste back to the soil helps us grow tomorrow’s food.
That is why the Australian Government is investing $67 million to establish a Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund (the Fund). The Fund will put organic waste to productive use on our agricultural soils, rather than going to landfill.
The Fund aims to increase Australia’s organic waste recycling rate from 49 per cent to 80 per cent by 2030.
Achieving an 80 per cent recovery rate for organic waste will add approximately $400 million in industry value to the Australian economy while supporting up to 2,700 additional jobs in the recycling industry. It will also avoid over two million tonnes of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions each year (the equivalent of taking nearly 500,000 cars off the road).
Together with co-contributions from participating state and territory governments and industry, the Fund will leverage over $170 million of investment to build new and improve existing organic waste recycling infrastructure to divert organic waste into nutrient rich compost and soil enhancers. Funded facilities will increase the quantity and quality of recycled organic waste available for use especially in the agricultural industry.
The Fund includes:
- a $57 million infrastructure fund to support new and improved organic waste recycling infrastructure to divert food organic and garden organic (FOGO) waste from landfill. Information on how to access this funding is provided below.
- supporting elements to ensure the quality, consistency and safety of recycled organics products for use on agricultural soils. $10 million will be used by the government to:
- reduce contamination through education initiatives
- encourage the uptake while increasing knowledge and awareness of compost benefits
- update the Australia’s compost standards (AS4454-2012 Compost, Mulches and Soil Conditioners) to ensure compost products are top-grade, safe, consistent, and can be used in a range of agricultural settings, and
- update government procurement guidelines to stimulate market for high quality compost.
How can industry access funding?
Applications are now closed.
Applications were accepted via two intakes:
- Intake 1 closed on Friday 17 December 2021
- Intake 2 closed on Thursday 31 March 2022.
Jurisdictions must partner with industry organisations to apply. Councils and water corporations are considered to be industry for the purposes for the funding.
Participating state and territory governments will be responsible for assessing their jurisdictions’ gaps in organic waste reprocessing infrastructure and identifying suitable projects and industry partners to apply for funding.
- relate to a project to build processing capacity or improve product quality of processing recovered organic waste that is either:
- a proposed new facility, or
- an improvement or expansion of an existing facility.
- relate to a proposed project that is expected to be economically viable over its operational life.
- have the written support of the responsible state or territory minister, and industry partner(s) (evidence of this to be attached to the application).
- request Commonwealth funding for of less than or equal to one-third of the total cost of the projects with the remaining costs met by the state or territory government and industry partner(s) on a minimum 1:1:1 basis.
- include Industry partner(s) with a current Australian Business Number (ABN), that are registered for GST, are not insolvent and do not have owners/directors who are an undischarged bankrupt.
- relate to a project(s) that had a confirmed investment decision made after 15 April 2021, and will be commissioned and operational by 30 June 2025.
Applications will be assessed by a panel with relevant expertise and experience. The Minister for the Environment will make the decision on which applications will receive funding. A decision on funding is expected in March (for intake 1 applications) and July 2022 (for intake 2 applications).
Commonwealth funding for successful projects will provided to state and territory governments who will be responsible for provision of funds to industry partners and reporting on the implementation of projects.
Detailed information on the funding is available in the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions.