National Waste and Recycling Industry Council to advocate for industry

A new body working to create a cohesive national vision for Australia’s waste management industry has officially formed. We spoke to the organisation’s CEO Max Spedding about his plans.

Tell us a bit about your past role as the chief executive of the Australian Landfill Owners Association (ALOA) – how do you think your past experiences will help you as CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC)?

Having both industry CEO experience (BFI then SITA from 1994 to 2001) – and the last three years with Australian Landfill Owners Association – I have a great basis to take on the role. As the NWRIC will, in time, address all sectors of the waste and recycling industry I expect my first-hand knowledge will help give the Council focus, and an industry approach.

How will the NWRIC work in the best interests of Australia’s waste management industry? How does this collaboration similarly fit in with state-level industry-based associations?

The Council works to represent the interests of Australia’s waste and recycling industry through the creation of industry-driven policy. This policy aims to create an industry which is fair, safe, sustainable and prosperous for all waste management companies.

Working with industry stakeholders, we intend to develop industry position papers, which will become policy road maps to take the industry forward. We’ll then promote, both directly and through our affiliates, these consensus policy papers to key state and Commonwealth regulators and decision makers. In this way, the Council is Australia’s first national advocacy group linked to an affiliate branch in each state.

How will you work with some of the national members such as Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway and Solo Resource Recovery?

Just as the waste industry is broad, the activities and services of our members are broad. However, there are many issues they can agree upon. For example, regulations covering the Australian waste and recycling industry vary greatly from state to state, and this variation can create increased costs. Likewise, the need for waste management infrastructure to be protected from encroachment and creating fair markets is also important.

What are some of the major challenges for the industry going forward and how does the NWRIC intend to advocate for change?

M Spedding Bio Photo 1
CEO Max Spedding.

The NWRIC is a broad based policy body which will create, promote and advocate for industry-driven policy.

We want to bring to the Government’s attention regulations and administrative burdens which create a cost to business but don’t benefit communities, businesses or the environment.

Poor policing of standards is a simple example. State EPAs need to be equipped to find, prosecute and close down operators who operate illegally or dump waste.

These groups undermine the investments made by quality providers, and harm the environment and communities.

Similarly, the great variation in landfill levies across Australia is creating unnecessary waste transportation. We want to ensure that regulation doesn’t create unintended consequences.

What level of progress has the association made since commencing in February, and what are your goals for 2017?

We’re in active consultation with our members, our affiliates and key industry stakeholders.

Right now we’re working to identify key industry issues and then build consensus around new policy positions. When these positions have been ratified by industry, we’ll share them on our website and with the industry more broadly.

To read more, see page 20 of Issue 11.