Fed Govt releases PFAS contamination recommendations

The Federal Government’s PFAS Sub-Committee has made nine recommendations to improve its response to PFAS contamination.

It is part of a report tabled by the Chair of the PFAS Sub-Committee, Andrew Laming, and analyses the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s inquiry into the management of PFAS contamination in and around defence bases.

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The report recommends establishing a Coordinator-General with the authority and resources to effectively coordinate Federal Government efforts to reduce PFAS contamination and to ensure there is a consistent approach across community consultations and cooperation with state, territory and local governments.

Improvements to voluntary blood testing program could also be used as a source of longitudinal information on the health effects of PFAS exposure and the effective methods to break PFAS exposure pathways.

The Federal Government has also been recommended to assist property owners and businesses in affected areas for demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination from defence bases. This could be undertaken through a comprehensive scheme that is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of individual circumstances.

“I would like to thank and pay tribute to the many members of PFAS affected communities across the country who made submissions to the inquiry and who appeared to give evidence at public and in-camera hearings. I trust that this report honours their effort,” Mr Laming said.

Queenslanders recycle 50M containers in four weeks

More than 50 million drink containers have been returned during the first month of Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, with almost $5 million in refunds being refunded.

Within the first four weeks, more than 60,000 Queenslanders have signed up to receive the 10-cent refund, alongside the creation of more than 500 jobs to support the scheme across the state.

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Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the scheme has been a smash hit and helps reduce the number of containers that end up in landfill or as litter.

“This is a phenomenal result in only four weeks and we have to remember this is just the very beginning for Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change,” Ms Enoch said.

“Queenslanders use nearly three billion containers every year and sadly they are the second most commonly littered item in the environment, despite the fact they can be easily recycled.

“Charities and community groups are also getting involved with over 1000 having registered with the scheme, sharing in the donation of refunds, to support vital community services,” she said.

Ms Enoch also praised the efforts of the container refund operators and said the results of their work speak for themselves.

“Many of these operators are small family-run businesses and I want to congratulate these operators for their hard work in getting the refund points up and running and Queenslanders for their support,” she said.

Container Exchange CEO Ken Noye said the scheme provides opportunities for organisations to help their communities.

“It provides unprecedented opportunities for these bodies to raise funds for much-needed resources, especially smaller organisations which have to compete for funding in the not-for-profit-sector,” Mr Noye said.

“Queensland will benefit from the 500 new jobs being created around the state to implement and operate the scheme, and that’s good news for people who want to work within the scheme.”

Tenders open for WA container deposit scheme coordinator

The WA Government is seeking applications for a scheme coordinator to implement its container deposit scheme (CDS).

A scheme co-ordinator will establish and operate the collection network and will be responsible for managing the scheme’s finances.

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The successful applicant will be a not-for profit company and be appointed by WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

New refund points and container sorting and processing plants will create 500 jobs across regional and metropolitan WA.

The scheme is part of the state government’s undertaking to reduce waste, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the state’s waste strategy.

Applications are open on the Tenders WA website and will close on 5 December 2018. The scheme will commence in early 2020.

Mr Dawson said Western Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of a container deposit scheme with 97 survey respondents supporting the scheme.

“Appointment of the scheme co-ordinator is a crucial step in the rollout of this container deposit scheme, and I look forward to working with the successful candidate to deliver the best scheme for all Western Australians,” he said.

QLD Environment Minister opens Future Waste Resources Convention

Queensland’s Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch officially opened the Future Waste Resources Convention in Ipswich, speaking to waste and recycling industry representatives from across the state.

The minister told businesses and local councils that the state government’s priority is to work with the community and industry to reduce landfill and encourage resource recovery.

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“I’m delighted to see that industry leaders are looking to the future, and preparing to make the most of the opportunities ahead,” Ms Enoch said.

“We are in a fortunate position to have internationally competitive businesses right here in Queensland, using cutting-edge technologies and processes for turning waste into valuable and profitable, products and services.

“We want to build on that competitive advantage,” she said.

The convention, located at Ipswich’s Workshops Rail Museum, focuses on realistic solutions to current challenges.

“Changing how we manage waste in Queensland will create jobs and drive significant economic growth as we make better use of resources and develop new industries,” Ms Enoch said.

Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland CEO Rick Ralph said the convention has brought together more than 250 attendees from across the industry, and state and local government.

“This is the largest convention of its kind in Queensland history, focussing on future waste and recycling solutions for the state,” Mr Ralph said.

“It is wonderful the convention is being held at one the oldest manufacturing centres to show the possibilities for the future.”

VIC EPA Governance Board appointments finalised

The remaining appointments to the new Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) governing board have been announced by Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.

The board members have been selected for their skills and knowledge of their roles and will be key to implementing the state government’s EPA reform agenda, according to the Victorian Government.

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Ms Cheryl Batagol will be chair of the governing board and will lead and eight-person board that includes:

  • Mr Greg Tweedly (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Joan Ozanne-Smith
  • Mr Graeme Ford
  • Professor Rebekah Brown
  • Ross Pilling
  • Ms Monique Conheady
  • Ms Debra Russell.

Ms Batagol has been Chair of the EPA under the current governing structure since 2009. She brings more than 40 years of experience in waste management, water and environment sectors to the positions.

The Board will come into operation on 1 July and will lead the EPA in implementing its response to the Independent Inquiry into the EPA.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the Victorian Government is making sure the EPA is equipped with the people, powers and resources it needs to do its job and protect Victoria’s environment.

“This board has a fantastic cross section of experience and knowledge to help us implement our vital reforms to the EPA,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.