The head of Waste and Recycling Industry Association Queensland (WRIQ) is questioning how accurately a government report reflects the performance of the sector and the companies within it.
The State of Waste and Recycling In Queensland 2015 report was published on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s (DEHP) website in January.
In a message to the association’s members, WRIQ CEO Rick Ralph advises readers to treat the report’s content with caution due to the data it uses, as it leaves out information from organisations not required to report their figures. The report is based on results from the Annual Waste Data Survey that the DEHP says “enables the capture and analysis of data to inform Queenslanders about resource recovery and waste generation, treatment and disposal in our state”.
“I ask that you interpret cautiously what is presented and remember this content is only a reflection of some of the data from the required reporting entities,” writes Mr Ralph.
“With so many companies still not recognised as reporting entities and no ‘edit’ of the information provided, this report in no way presents readers, commentators, government policy writers and investors with the real facts of what this professional and innovative industry, and our substantial investments in Queensland, are actually achieving.”
In explaining his scepticism about the accuracy of the report’s findings, Mr Ralph explains that the recycling rates detailed are those from only those companies obliged to provide their figures. He also highlights how around half of the state’s councils remain without weighbridges at waste disposal sites, which casts doubt on the reliability and reality of recycling of municipal solid, commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition waste streams.
Mr Ralph says the government needs to be held to account for its reporting on the industry’s performance as regard its sources and its accuracy, especially as investors and commentators use it to inform their work without knowing the methodologies used to gather the data. He also highlights the differences between each state’s reporting standards, and how Queensland’s industry reports interstate tonnages that adversely impact the reflection of its performance.
“It is no wonder that it is easy for outside critics of Queensland to manipulate fact with fiction, resulting in headlines such is ‘Queensland lags in recycling performance’ or ‘Queensland the dump for NSW waste’,” asserts Mr Ralph. “Such commentary is bad for business, misleading of the community and fails all standards of sound governance and professional reporting.”