A recent study by the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has quantified the economic contribution the sector makes to the Victorian economy.
The data follows the same modelling recently used by National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) state and territory affiliates Waste and Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) and Waste and Recycling Industry Northern Territory (WRINT).
The VWMA commissioned economist Nick Behrens, Director of Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions, to complete a report that breaks down the economic and social contribution of the waste management and secondary resources industry to the Victorian economy.
VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said the interconnected waste and resource recovery network seen nationwide comprises a fleet of vehicles, other machinery and infrastructure assets to consolidate, process, recovery, treat, dispose or export waste which all aspects of the economy produce.
“I think that’s something the broader economy doesn’t always recognise,” Mr Smith said.
The Victorian snapshot shows that more than 1100 businesses create 23,000 direct Victorian jobs. The overall industry, including the government and private sector, creates an annual turnover of $3.7 billion.
This contribution makes up $2.3 billion of Victorian gross state product of the state’s roughly $399 billion of gross state product.
Mr Smith said that the report shows the waste sector provides an essential service similar to that of water, electricity and roads/logistics.
“This report is the first time we’ve articulated our benefit with data back to the community or to key parts of government at a local, state or federal level,” Mr Smith said.
“Membership with state-based associations such as the VWMA empowers us to act on our members’ behalves and for the interests of the sector. It’s through our members’ support that we’ve been able to carry out this research.”
Mr Smith said that the valuable data and information provides the VWMA with evidence to shape and define the state’s waste management and resource recovery narrative.
“It provides us with authoritative information about the sector which should not be underestimated when we frame the valuable contribution we make to the economy [direct and in-direct], the environment and society.”
The waste and resource recovery sector also supports the growing balance of the Sustainability Fund (sourced through landfill levies).
“It’s really important to recognise the critical support role the sector plays in supporting the state government’s collection of landfill levies which we understand to be about $215 million a year. The Sustainability Fund is critical in funding the EPA, Sustainability Victoria and other agencies working to make Victoria safe, prosperous and sustainable.”
“The data sets highlight a compelling story about what the private sector’s stake in waste and resource recovery currently looks like. Our data indicates that state government contributions are minuscule when compared to the investments and contribution of the private sector.”
Mr Smith said that the report also highlights industry’s commitment to ensuring a sustainable and efficient waste and resource recovery network.
National Waste and Recycling Industry Council CEO Rose Read said that the report is an important step for the sector in telling its story about the benefits it delivers to the community, councils, the environment and businesses.
“I’m optimistic that other states will follow Victoria, Queensland and Northern Territory’s footsteps and adopt the same methodology developed by Queensland Economy Advocacy Solutions.”
How the VWMA will use the data:
- It will help contextualise and frame the broader contribution to Victoria
- It will work with other associations to help inform the national contribution
- It will use the data to engage with government, the media and politicians about the important role the sector plays.
How the waste sector can use the data:
- When talking about their business, contribution and local benefits
- Combine with other applications or documents that communicate the sector’s broader benefits.
How government can use the data:
- In government reports or documents
- To prevent duplications of existing work carried out by the private sector
- To work with associations to better engage with businesses wanting to drive outcomes for the sector.