Visy’s Anthony Pratt named Australia’s wealthiest individual

The Australian has revealed Visy executive chairman and owner of Pratt Industries, Anthony Pratt is Australia’s wealthiest individual, with a fortune of $13.14 billion.

He is one of 250 people named in The List: Australia’s Richest 250, which will be published in The Weekend Australian tomorrow as a special magazine.

The list was curated and edited by wealth expert John Stensholt and a global team of researchers and journalists.

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The study reveals the entire fortune of Australia’s wealthiest 250 is $318.33 billion, with each member having an average of $1.27 billion. Included in the list are 96 billionaires, 15 people aged 40 and under and 27 females. The average age of members is 65, with 95-year-olds Len Ainsowrth (Associated World Investments, Sydney) and Marc Beseen (TarraWarra, Melbourne) the eldest named and 26-year-old Tobi Pearce (Sweat) the list’s youngest member.

Joining Pratt in the Top 10 is Hancock Prospecting chairman Gina Rinehart (65, Perth) who came in at number 2, with an accumulated wealth of $13.12 billion – a mere $20 million separating her from Pratt.

Meriton managing director Harry Triguboff (86, Sydney) is at number 3, with a fortune of $12.31 billion. More broadly, property dominates the majority of wealth, with 68 members making their fortune from the industry. Many members have also made their fortunes in industries such as transport and mining, before diversifying into residential and commercial property investments.

The list has been compiled using publicly available information. Public shareholdings are calculated on share prices up to 15 February 2019 and property values and purchase prices have been derived from several public sources. Price companies are valued using profit margins and various earnings ratios of comparable stock market listed competitors.

The List: Australia’s Richest 250
The Top 10

1.     Anthony Pratt and family ($13.14 billion)
2.     Gina Rinehart ($13.12 billion)
3.     Harry Triguboff ($12.31 billion)
4.     Mike Cannon-Brookes ($9.01 billion)
5.     Scott Farquhar ($9.01 billion)
6.     Frank Lowy ($8.92 billion)
7.     Hui Wing Mau ($8.63 billion)
8.     Andrew Forrest ($7.34 billion)
9.     Ivan Glasenberg ($6.76 billion)
10.  John Gandel ($6.22 billion)

Waste Expo Australia

Waste Expo Australia will take place 23 to 24 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre showcasing over 120 brands and 35 hours of free-to-attend content over three conference stages.

The event is one of the largest gatherings of waste management and resource professionals in Australia and offers exclusive access to latest technology, information and trends while providing networking opportunities with industry experts.

Waste Expo Australia will examine the future of waste and recycling in the country, focusing on seven targeted areas: collections, resource recovery, landfill and transfer stations, waste to energy, commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition waste and wastewater.

EU Parliament votes to ban single-use plastic

Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of a law banning single-use plastics commonly found on European beaches including drinking straws, cutlery and abandoned fishing gear.

The vote, which follows a Parliamentary endorsement in 2018, saw 560 members voting in favour of the law, 35 voting against and 28 abstaining.

Targeted products include plastic cotton buds, plates, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons which form up to 70 per cent of all marine litter items.

The law requires all European States to ban single-use and oxo-degradable plastic and polystyrene cups by 2021. Members will also have to achieve a 90 per cent collection target for plastic bottles by 2029.

Under the law plastic bottles will need to be manufactured with at least 25 per cent recycled content by 2025, with a 30 per cent target set for 2030.

The legislation will strengthen the application of the polluter pays principle by introducing extended responsibility for producers. For example a manufacturer of fishing gear, not the fisherman, would bear the cost of collecting nets lost at sea. Legislation also stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of products should be mandatory.

Lead Member of Parliament Frédérique Ries said the legislation would reduce the EU’s environmental damage bill by €22 billion.

“Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at an international level given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet,” she said.

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AORA announces new board directors

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) have announced Elmore Compost & Organics Managing Director Frank Harney and SOLICO General Manager Charlie Emery will join the associations Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors serves to represent the interests of AORA members and manage operations specific to their regions.

Mr Harney said he will use the position to educate farmers and consumers about the benefits of organic compost, while further developing application equipment and composting best practice.

Mr Emery said he hopes to use his experience in strategic planning and business development initiatives to work towards the production of quality assured soil and advance the organics recycling industry.

The announcement follows AORA’s release of a new constitution earlier this month.

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WMRR Landfills and Transfer Stations Conference opens

More than 300 waste management and resource recovery operators have descended on Brisbane this week to discuss landfill and transfer station innovation, design, operation and regulation at the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia’s (WMRR) 2019 Australian Landfills and Transfer Stations Conference.

WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan said the organisation and its sponsors invested in the conference because they recognise that landfills play an important role and are integral to both environment and community safety.

“We must continue to ensure that Australia’s landfills are world’s best practice in order that we continue to maintain a network of high-quality engineered facilities that effectively manages our residual waste while ensuring human health and the environment are protected at all times.

“The role of landfills goes beyond the responsible disposal of residual waste. Landfills and transfer stations play a fundamental role during periods of service and economic disruption and post-disaster emergency waste management,” Ms Sloan said.

Queensland Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch, who opened the conference, noted the groundswell of community support for effective waste management and resource recovery, and reiterated the Queensland Government’s commitment to transitioning to a circular economy.

“Queensland now has a waste levy after years of getting by without an effective market signal. The levy will bolster the recycling and resource recovery sector without a cost impact on community. It will lead to job creation and new industries that manufacture products using recycled content.

“The levy is just one vital component. The draft waste management and resource recovery strategy, which is currently out for consultation, sets the course for Queensland to become a zero-waste society where the waste we produce is reused and recycled as much as possible,” Ms. Enoch said.

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Repurpose It launches Australian-first washing plant

Repurpose It has launched Australia’s first $8.5 million construction and demolition washing plant facility with Downer, who have come on board as a 50 per cent partner.

The 150 acre facility will recover and treat residual waste and process it into materials suitable for the civil construction industry, with a focus on reducing the reliance on excavated materials.

Repurpose It’s new washing plant will focus on reducing CO2 emissions, saving more than 84,000 tonnes of CO2 annually or the equivalent of planting 300,000 trees and 295 million kilometres of car travel.

This is achieved through a process of washing and recycling ordinarily difficult to recover materials through advanced screening, scrubbing and water treatment.

Repurpose It’s Founder and CEO, George Hatzimanolis explained change in the industry is vital following the sharp growth in demand for extractive resources in Victoria’s infrastructure sector and the growing number of materials buried under landfill.

“Our new construction and demolition washing plant will revolutionise the way we manage waste through our investment in cutting edge technology, allowing us to supply in-demand materials back to the industry while preserving the environment”, Mr Hatzimanolis said.

Downer Executive General Manager of Road Services Dante Cremasco said the plant highlighted the importance of partnerships to deliver sustainable practices and solutions in Australia.

“The new recycling facility demonstrates that with strong partnerships we can deliver change.

“It’s incumbent on all of us to work together to drive the circular economy, creating new avenues to recycle and repurpose waste materials into new streams of use. It is all about pulling products that we can use, not pushing waste,” Mr Cremasco said.

Victorian Government Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the state government invested $500,000 into the project as part of a Resource Recovery Infrastructure grant.

“We’re supporting large-scale infrastructure projects like this one to reduce Victoria’s dependence on landfills, create new jobs and drive investment.

“Our Recycling Industry Strategic Plan is helping Victoria’s recycling sector adjust to changes in world recycling markets so more material is diverted from landfill,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Repurpose It will partner with the state government on other projects to integrate waste into road and rail infrastructure works, including the Level Crossing Removal Project, Metro Trains, North East Link and the Western Distributor.

The latest round of the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund is now open, with grants between $40,000 and $500,000 available to support efficient sorting, and the recovery and reprocessing of priority materials such as plastic, paper, cardboard and glass.

A further $1.2 million is also available to support the market development of recycled materials.

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Minister to open Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Conference

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.

Keeping it to convention: Tellus Holdings

With hazardous chemical waste stockpiles rising, Waste Management Review explores the current state of regulation governing safe and permanent disposal of this potentially dangerous waste stream.

In 2016-17, Australia produced around 6.3 million tonnes of hazardous waste, an increase of around 26 per cent compared to the previous year, according to the 2018 National Waste Report.

These annual generation figures are dwarfed by the sheer amount of legacy hazardous waste, with hundreds of millions of tonnes being stockpiled and stored in facilities that are inappropriate for long-term situations.

That is according to data from the Hazardous Waste in Australia 2017 report, commissioned by the Federal Government Department of Environment and Energy, which finds new hazardous waste streams are also emerging as a result of changes to technology and consumer habits.

Australia has signed international treaties, such as the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which places obligations on countries to ensure hazardous wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner.

Multiple regulatory regimes manage hazardous waste in Australia, including environmental protection regulations which are designed to minimise the impacts on the environment and human health to meet Australia’s international responsibilities. 

National legislation and codes for the transport of dangerous goods aims to prevent accidents and promote safe transport, along with work health and safety regulations to reduce occupational health and safety risks in the workplace. Product stewardship regulations also aim to ensure products such as waste oil, asbestos, e-waste, tyres, batteries, mercury and medicines are responsibly managed.

Ensuring hazardous waste is stored safely often requires strong controls across the lifecycle of the waste, from its generation, to its storage, transport, treatment, recycling, recovery and final disposal. 

Richard Phillips, General Manager of Health, Safety, Environment, Compliance and Quality at Tellus Holdings, says hazardous wastes are often produced across a product’s lifecycle, in the mining, manufacturing, distribution, consumption and recycling stages.

“We all produce hazardous waste. On a per capita basis, Australia is one of the highest emitters of hazardous waste, with some of the larger producers being legacy contaminated site soil clean-up utilities, oil and gas, heavy industry, agriculture and mining industries,” Richard says.

“Much of this waste sits at the bottom of the waste hierarchy and cannot be recycled or reused – it needs to be permanently isolated from our biosphere.

“However, Australia doesn’t currently have the infrastructure to safely and permanently isolate these legacy wastes.” 

He adds that this applies to the isolation of current production and emerging wastes at cost effective price points, while meeting Australia’s international obligations.

One method of managing this waste is through a geological repository with a circular economy park. These use multiple natural and engineered barriers to store hazardous waste long-term, recover valuable materials, or permanently isolate hazardous materials.

Geological repositories make use of man-made and natural barriers, allowing them to permanently isolate waste for hundreds of thousands to millions of years. Because of this, they have been recognised by the United Nations and European Union as effective methods for disposing of hazardous wastes, and due to their safety record, are enforced on a national level in countries such as the UK and Germany for the disposal of nuclear waste.

Richard adds the development of geological repositories requires significant investment of time and money to consider strict site selection criteria and navigate the regulatory approval process, which can cost millions of dollars and require years of development. 

Tellus Holdings has gone through the process of environmental assessment for its two sites: the Sandy Ridge Facility in WA and the Chandler Facility in the Northern Territory. Both projects have been recommended for approval by each jurisdictional Environmental Protection Authority. The Sandy Ridge Facility has been granted a ministerial approval by the WA Government and has received Federal Government approval.

By bringing these sites to market, Tellus aims to provide governments with a tool to adequately use to address the issue of legacy waste, current production and emerging hazardous waste in Australia.

“There’s increasing levels of support from government agencies, regulators, and from our customers for what Tellus is aiming to achieve,” Richard says.

“These facilities will provide Australia with the infrastructure it requires to ensure hazardous waste has a safe, final resting place permanently isolated from the biosphere in an environmentally sound manner.”

Tellus plans to support the creation of a circular economy by storing similar materials over time in order to create economics of scale advantages and by investing in technologies that recycle and recover valuable materials.