New ACT waste management law progressing

New ACT waste management law progressing

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill has been presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Designed to achieve more effective management and regulation of waste collection, recovery, recycling and reuse in the ACT, the new Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill was tabled to members on 7 June and will eventually replace the Waste Minimisation Act 2001.

“Since the Act was introduced, waste management practices and technology have changed significantly, Canberra’s population has increased and there is more pressure on our landfill capacities,” said Minister for Transport and Municipal Services Meegan Fitzharris on Tuesday.

Developed following extensive industry and community consultation, the new laws aim to encourage and promote responsible waste management practices, innovative waste industry opportunities and help make the ACT waste sector carbon-neutral.

“The Bill won’t impact on day-to-day household waste collections, but it will change the way the commercial waste sector operates by introducing incentives to manage the collection, storage, recovery and reuse of waste in the ACT,” added Minister Fitzharris.

“Importantly, it will require the commercial waste industry to provide data on their waste activity to government agencies so that we can better understand what happens to our waste and develop strategies to minimise it and encourage more resource recovery.”

Provisions of the Bill encourage investment in waste facilities in the ACT to cater for waste streams such as mixed commercial waste and household residual wastes, which are currently sent to landfill. It also looks to waste transportation businesses and waste treatment facilities to recycle or reuse their waste.

“Ultimately, businesses that recycle and recover their waste rather than sending it to landfill will pay less, making it more attractive for waste operators to recycle and contribute to resource recovery,” said Mrs Fitzharris.

The Bill is due to come into effect on 1 July 2017. It has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services for inquiry. Ms Fitzharris said she and the Committee planned to report back to the Assembly with an update before the August sitting period.