AUSTRALIAN Paper has received renewed support from Gippsland state and federal Coalition MPs for its concerns over governments’ purchase of recycled paper made at its Maryvale plant.
However, Federal Government MPs have stopped short of calling for the mandatory use of Australian-made recycled paper, saying the government is unable to do so due to international trade agreements.
Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie joined fellow federal MPs Darren Chester and Russell Broadbent as well as State Member for Morwell Russell Northe and Latrobe City Council mayor Dale Harriman on a visit to Australian Paper on Friday.
Australian Paper spokesman Craig Dunn welcomed the support of the politicians during the visit.
“There’s been a really broad recognition of the sustainable nature of Australian Paper’s operation and the leadership that we’ve taken in the recycled paper area, and also there’s a real opportunity for the Federal Government to get more involved in procuring Australian-made recycled paper,” Mr Dunn said.
Mr Chester used the visit to repeat his disappointment that not all government departments were using Australian-made paper.
He said buying Australian-made recycled paper would help secure jobs in the Latrobe Valley.
“We want the Australian Government to purchase more Australian-made paper and personally I find it appalling that we’re importing paper from other countries when we’ve got a fantastic product here in Australia supporting local jobs,” Mr Chester said.
Mr Chester and Mr Broadbent wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this month advocating for recycled paper made at Maryvale and said there had been a good response to their call for departments to use recycled paper.
“There is a keenness within government to support any environmentally sensitive initiatives that can make a difference to Australia’s carbon footprint,” Mr Broadbent sad.
Ms McKenzie used the visit to call on government procurement practices to be consistently applied across all departments.