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Australia stands on the precipice of a significant bioenergy economy, according to a new report launched this week.
Future energy organisation, Bioenergy Australia, has released the first Bioenergy State of the Nation Report in Canberra.
According to the report a significant bioenergy opportunity awaited Australia in which up to $5 billion in potential investments could be sought across regional areas and Queensland was leading the way.
The report from KPMG commissioned by Bioenergy Australia helped to outline criteria for launching a sizeable bioenergy economy.
Speaking at Parliament House to launch the report, Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie said there was much to be gained through the adoption of best practice approaches throughout Australia in light of reviews the report makes of state and territory policies to facilitate policy transfer and learning.
“Queensland has already adopted a number of successful policies which can be adapted and deployed to drive bioenergy uptake across the country,” she said.
Bioenergy is said by advocates to deliver a range of benefits such as employment and economic development of rural/agricultural communities, energy security, utilisation of waste streams and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Report assessments were based on bioenergy performance measured against five evaluation criteria: policy development and effectiveness, bioenergy project development, technology and feedstock, sustainability guidance, advocacy and education.
“Queensland is driving the bioenergy agenda on a number of fronts and should be commended for the incredible work happening across the state,” Ms McKenzie said.
“They have a government who recognises bioenergy as a priority industry, actively rolling out new projects through the delivery of the Biofutures Roadmap and Biofutures Program,” she said.
“There is no shortage of viable options we can implement to drive us forward, and we hope the Bioenergy Australia State of the Nation Report can be this force for change in the sector so Australia can leverage the wide-ranging potential benefits of a bio-economy.”
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.
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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.”
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