One year on from National Sword, regulators shared their policy response at Waste 2019, while industry leaders discussed the critical steps to move the sector forward.
Waste Management Review speaks to Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia CEO Gayle Sloan on her experiences leading the association.
Queensland Government Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch will be sharing the government’s vision for the state’s waste and resource recovery industry at this week’s 2019 Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Conference.
Hosted by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), WMRR in a statement welcomed the Queensland Government’s new waste strategy and its commitment to a circular economy.
“There is no denying that Queensland will have to play catch-up, but the good news is that it has the benefit of hindsight and can learn fundamental lessons from its neighbours on the eastern seaboard,” the statement read.
“The Queensland Government certainly does not have its blinkers on and is asking the right questions. It is pleasing to see that the Department of Environment and Science is thinking about how to stimulate investment to build the economic opportunity that our essential waste management and resource recovery industry offers.”
She said the government’s decisions to date are a sign of things to come, including the potential growth of the state’s resource recovery and remanufacturing industries, which signals more jobs, less reliance on export markets and a boost to the local economy.
“Queensland can outshine the rest of Australia because the state has a minister who has an acute understanding of what needs to be done to build and sustain an integrated and efficient waste and resource recovery system, which undoubtedly includes the consideration and maintenance of well-managed landfills and transfer stations,” Ms Sloan said.
Ms Sloan said that Queensland was focusing on market development and infrastructure planning, which are sorely missing in NSW.
“Queensland has also committed to reinvesting 70 per cent of levy funds in industry, the environment and local government, going above and beyond the other States.
“Importantly, we are seeing plans for a whole-of-government approach, which WMRR has been harping on for years because waste and resource recovery is an essential industry and it is a shared responsibility.”
Ms Enoch will be giving the opening address at 8am on Wednesday, March 27 at the 2019 Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Conference which will be held at the Pullman Mercure in Brisbane.
At the beginning of the year, the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) changed its name to the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR).
In a statement, WMRR said the name, chosen and adopted by its members, reflects the needs of its diverse and growing membership and acknowledges the ever-increasing participation by materials recovery facilities, reprocessors and remanufacturers.
WMRR said the evolution of its brand is reflective of the focus of an essential industry, acknowledging the need for, and value of, collaboration with all stakeholders in the supply chain in order to continue its transition to a circular economy successfully.
In addition to a rebranding exercise, WMRR will soon launch a new working group in each state – the Resource Recovery and Market Development working group – to bring all elements of the supply chain to the table. An energy from waste working group will also be created, operating in place of what was formerly the RER working group.
WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan said the working groups and branch committees form the backbone of the association and in 2019, WMRR will continue to collaborate through a variety of forums such as networking events and meetings, as well as influence policy settings through a raft of important measures, from policy submissions to position papers.
“Another initiative to look forward to is the development of an accreditation program to develop the industry’s professional skills and recruitment of a Training and Development Manager will soon commence,” Ms Sloan added.
Work is also progressing on a number of highly anticipated conferences and events, including the 2019 Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Conference in March, the 2019 Energy from Waste Conference in August, and the various state-based Women of Waste breakfast events.
The statement said that beyond WMRR, 2019 is a year to watch, with two major elections coming our way – federal and NSW and the untapped opportunities for growth in our domestic remanufacturing sector.
“WMRR is determined to make 2019 a year of action and will continue to pressure the Federal Government to get on with the job and act on the key positions that WMRR has consistently been advocating for in order to to drive investment, economic and job growth as well as protect the community and environment,” the statement said.
“But WMRR can only do all of this with the support and contribution of our members. As we embark on a new year, we hope you will continue to join in the conversation, take advantage of the services WMRR has to offer, and support the association’s important work.”