NSW parties must prioritise waste management, says WMRR

Thursday, 07 March, 2019

NSW parties must prioritise waste management, says WMRR

Waste Management and Resource Recovery (WMRR) is urging all NSW parties to commit to six key priorities in the NSW election on 23 March. All recommendations place a strong focus on the state’s waste and recovery industry.

On 6 March at the Local Government NSW’s Save Our Recycling Election Summit, WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan reiterated the importance of building a strong, sustainable and resilient NSW waste and resource recovery sector to futureproof the state’s economy, protect communities and the environment, and create jobs in NSW.

Sloan commented, “If China’s National Sword policy has taught us anything, it is the need to strengthen and grow both domestic processing/re-manufacturing and local market demand, to decouple Australia from global markets, and to grow our own domestic markets. But unfortunately, 18 months on, we are nowhere close to realising that vision.

“Getting there is a shared responsibility — all stakeholders need to play their part in responding to and thriving in this ‘new reality’. Businesses are ready to invest; industry wants and needs to grow its capacity to provide best practice services and the community must support resource recovery by their action. It is now up to the NSW Government to show leadership and support our vital industry.”

WMRR has released six priorities for state politicians:

  1. The creation of a market development agency similar to Sustainability Victoria and Green Industries SA.
  2. Greater accountability and transparency of the landfill levy and a return and reinvestment of 50% of levy funds raised each year to support diversion from landfill, grow remanufacturing facilities and create markets.
  3. Recommit to finalising the Strategic Infrastructure Strategy, which has been placed on hold by the NSW Environment Protection Authority since July 2017, to strategically develop and approve required infrastructure.
  4. The development of a specific waste and resource recovery state environmental planning policy, including recognition that this infrastructure is critical/essential and requires certainty of location (by way of designated precincts) and appropriate buffer zones.
  5. Enforcement of the proximity principle and development of a common approach to managing ‘waste’ as it becomes a resource, which also requires resource recovery exemptions and orders to be certain and robust.
  6. Commitment to sustainable procurement coupled with the development of specifications that include recycled content. Mandate the use of recycled/recovered content in procurement policies for local and state government, including state government agencies, and ensure these are applied in procurement for all building, civil and infrastructure works.

Sloan added, “There is simply no reason to stall the development of remanufacturing and resource recovery in the state when we know that recycling creates jobs. This essential industry requires support and development, not just regulation, and government has an opportunity to take the lead in protecting the community, environment and our industry.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Andrey Popov

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