Dr Kar Mei Tang has become Australia’s first circular economist and chief.
Dr Tang’s appointment last week, fell in line with the release of a new report from NSW Circular, The Circular Economy Opportunity in NSW, which laid out Australia’s roadmap forward and conveyed why transitioning from a linear to a circular economy is vital for job creation and economic recovery post-COVID-19.
NSW Circular CEO Lisa McLean said: “The circular economy can generate up to 50,000 jobs in NSW over the next five years as the circular economy grows and is embraced by industry.
“Every sector has waste and uses raw materials for its goods and services. To realise the economic opportunity we need more data on the value of waste thrown into landfill. The Chief Circular Economist role has been created to advise on the economic potential in materials like e-waste, solar panels, plastics and glass, spotlight investment and policy opportunities, to drive the migration to the circular economy in Australia.”
The report also presents solutions for how NSW can unlock jobs, growth and resources in this new transition.
Dr Tang emphasised the importance of this at a time when unemployment rates are at an unprecedented low.
“With the official unemployment rate sitting at 6.9 percent across the nation and 7.2 percent in NSW, and many industries facing structural change, creating new jobs and stimulating new investment is the number one priority,” she said.
“The circular economy presents a timely and urgent opportunity to create new resilient jobs that are fit for the future. For example, there are 3.3 times more jobs in recycling for every job in landfill,” she said. “We are fundamentally talking about rebuilding an economy by producing more and designing out waste – and we need this for productivity growth.”