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Victoria’s Recycling Crisis

September 24, 2019

Recycling remains a hot topic for most Victorians with the recent collapse of recycling company SKM. The Supreme Court of Victoria ordered SKM into receivership. Owned by Melbourne’s Italiano family it’s not the first time SKM has been in the spotlight. A fire at the Coolaroo plant in 2017 caused damage to surrounding commercial and residential properties, and recently $1.2 million was awarded as compensation to those involved in a class action arising from the fire. This is just one of six fires that have broken out at SKM plants in Coolaroo, Geelong, and Laverton.

The AWU is concerned for members at SKM and understand it is a difficult and uncertain time. Our main priority is making sure that members jobs are maintained and that they don’t get tossed onto the scrap heap. Cleanaway bought out $60 million of the debt that SKM accumulated, with KordaMentha appointed to manage the business under the SKM name and hopefully sell the business as a going concern.

About the acquisition of the SKM debt , Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal commented and said “The acquisition of the debt will allow us to work with the receivers to examine viable options for SKM. If a sale process is undertaken and, if we are successful in purchasing any assets, we will return the assets to a sustainable footing. It will also present us with an opportunity to add to our network of prized infrastructure assets as part of our Footprint 2025 strategy.”

The Andrews Labor Government is taking further action to support Victoria’s recycling sector, with a $10 million loan to SKM’s receivers KordaMentha to help clean-up SKM sites and resume waste processing. Whist this will not prevent recycled waste having to go to landfill for the short term, the AWU welcomes the funding as it maximises the chance of the business being sold, and our members jobs being saved.

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