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Active in the waste space

Josh Frydenberg, Federal Government Minister for the Environment and Energy, talks about the Government’s changes to the product stewardship legislation.

Growing populations and increasing consumption means that managing waste in today’s world presents some challenges.

As the complexities around waste management grow, there are significant opportunities to develop and deploy new technologies, manage waste as a resource and better integrate waste management in supply chains.

As the Australian Government’s Minister for the Environment and Energy, I am committed not only to reducing the impact of hazardous waste on the environment, but supporting those who are working to improve the social and economic outcomes of all wastes.

This includes supporting approaches that consider how we design, manufacture, dispose of and recycle products and reuse their materials so they don’t end up in landfill.

I am also deeply committed to supporting your industry where possible by removing regulation that makes it difficult to put into practice new innovations and increases the costs of doing business.

Making the most of the nation’s food waste

I recently met with industry, academia and the not-for-profit sector representatives to discuss the Turnbull Government’s commitment to develop a National Food Waste Strategy to reduce Australia’s food waste by 50 per cent by 2030.

This meeting was an important precursor to the National Food Waste Summit to be held in November.

The cost of food waste to the economy is around $20 billion each year, which is one reason the Government is committed to addressing this problem.

In the commercial and industrial sector, around three million tonnes is wasted costing $10.5 billion in waste disposal charges and lost product, while food rescue organisations and community groups turn away more than 43,000 people seeking assistance every month.

There are substantial opportunities to rethink how we can prevent food waste or use lost or wasted food for other purposes.

The aim of the National Food Waste Strategy is not to impede important work already happening on this issue, but to encourage all those engaged in this space to undertake meaningful action.

Reducing the burden of hazardous waste

In February, the Australian Government passed two bills in Parliament to reduce the burden of managing hazardous waste.

The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Bill 2016 and Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Levy Bill 2016 will allow the Government to better administer the legislation while maintaining the Act’s high standards on human health and environmental protection.

The reforms are an important step to modernising Australia’s hazardous waste legislation. They remove unnecessary permit processes which will reduce delays and costs for both business and government.

The introduction of cost recovery will also see a levy applied to applications. This will ensure those who use the permit scheme pay for its administration, reducing the burden on the Australian public.

The legislation was introduced this year to provide industry with time to transition to the new cost recovery  arrangements by 1 July 2017. This will allow us to better fulfil our obligations as a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes.

These sensible reforms will cut the regulatory burden on industry while ensuring Australia will continue to fulfil its duty to protect people and the environment from the risks associated with hazardous waste.

To read more, see page 60 of Issue 12.