NSW budget 2017-18: what’s in it for waste?

The NSW Government has committed increased funds towards the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) and the state’s Environmental Protection Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a $1.8 billion environmental package.

Key programs relevant to the waste sector include $184 million to continue to support the EPA as an independent regulator and $3.4 million to introduce a CDS, scheduled for December 1 of this year.

The CDS funding is part of a $72 million package dedicated to transforming waste management in NSW, with the investment set to help the State Government reach its goal to reduce litter volume by 40 per cent by 2020.

Environment and Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton said the NSW Government’s priority was to protect and preserve the state’s environment for future generations.

“This year’s budget investment will go towards, protecting threatened species, preserving the state’s national park estate, helping households reduce energy use while driving down energy bills and protecting the state’s Aboriginal history,” she said.

Other environmental investments include:
  • $1.9 million towards the Broken Hill Lead Smart program
  • $34 million across national parks, primarily for upgrading facilities, amenities and safety and visitor experiences
  • $44 million for private land conservation ($240 million over five years and $70 million annually in ongoing funding)
  • $41 million to assist local councils to prepare and implement coastal and floodplain management plans and for works to restore and protect coastal and estuarine environments
  • $29 million to conserve and enjoy the state’s unique Aboriginal and historic heritage
  • $41 million to upgrade public parklands and gardens, this includes $15 million for Centennial Parklands to upgrade and improve park facilities and $11 million for a park improvement program at Western Sydney Parklands

NWRIC calls for CDS alignment

Aligning the commencement dates of the NSW and Queensland container deposit schemes will ensure the success of both, the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council believes.

This week, Queensland’s Parliament tabled the legislation to establish the State’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) via an update to the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011. The proposed scheme for Queensland received bipartisan support and is scheduled to start on July 1, 2018.

The NSW CDS has been scheduled to start on December 1, 2017 – just six months after the mechanisms governing the scheme were released. Under the scheme, ‘network operators’ are required to establish hundreds of collection points across seven zones, covering all of NSW.

In addition to having all of these collection points in place by November, the NWRIC is also concerned that administrative hurdles, such as development applications and safety procedures, may delay the orderly rollout of the program.

“By delaying the start date of the NSW CDS by only seven months, to July 1, 2018, both NSW and Queensland can prevent cross border transport of beverage containers and stockpiling issues,” said NWRIC Chairman Phil Richards.

“Industry are asking for more time to establish high quality collection points and resolve the outstanding administrative issues associated with the scheme.”

“CDS programs are complex, so it is also important that adequate time is given to network operators to establish collection and administration systems. These systems are needed to reduce disruption and deliver a high quality service to the public.”

“Regulators are already working to harmonise the rules of both the NSW and Queensland container deposit schemes, so it seems natural to harmonise their commencement dates.”

Along with the NSW and Queensland CDS, the NWRIC is also calling for renewed efforts by all the States and Territories to harmonise all the regulations covering waste management and recycling.


NWRIC raises concern at landfill levy avoidance

Industry leaders are calling for coordinated action between the states and the Commonwealth to prevent landfill levy avoidance and the unnecessary transport of waste across state borders.

Members unanimously ratified a position to oppose all unnecessary transport of waste across state borders at the June 13 meeting of the industry lobby group – the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC).

“Inter-jurisdictional variations in landfill levies are causing the unnecessary transport of large volumes of waste, particularly between NSW and South East Queensland,” said Phil Richards, Chair of the Council.

“This regulatory issue is harming communities and undermining the development of new recycling infrastructure.”

“As a result we call on all state governments and the Commonwealth to immediately put in place a solution to end this unnecessary and potentially unsafe practice.”

Attending the June 13 NWRIC meeting were senior representatives from recycling companies and representatives.

The NSW EPA estimates more than 50,000 tonnes per month are being transported from Sydney to South East Queensland to avoid the payment of the NSW landfill levy. While waste transport into Queensland has received the most publicity – the NWRIC notes unnecessary waste haulage occurs everywhere there are landfill levy induced market distortions – such out of Victoria into regional NSW.

Across Australia, the NWRIC estimates that more than one million tonnes per year is being transported long distances simply to avoid landfill levies.

The NWRIC is calling for urgent government action to remove the current incentives for the interstate transport. These calls have been previously been supported by fellow industry associations including; the Waste Management Association of Australia, the Australian Council of Recycling and the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW.

“Now is the time for governments to take action and to put in place a solution that ensures waste is treated as close to its point of generation as possible,” Mr Richards said.


Queensland Budget 2017-18: what’s in it for waste?

The Queensland Government’s 2017-18 budget has allocated almost $275 million for the environment over the next five years, including strengthening the state’s environmental regulator and funding for a container deposit scheme.

It includes $2.5 million to implement the Government’s container refund scheme and plastic bag ban from 1 July 2018.

“We will continue to work with the retail sector to prepare Queenslanders for life without plastic shopping bags, and continue to encourage recycling of plastic drink containers,” Environment Minister Steven Miles said.

“Almost one billion single use plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland each year.

“Come 1 July 2018, these bags will be banned in Queensland and a container refund scheme for beverage containers will be in place.”

“In addition, the Budget will deliver a further $3 million over two years for other projects in support of Advancing Queensland’s Waste Reform Agenda, in a bid to encourage greater reuse of materials and reduce waste going to landfill.”

Mr Miles said priorities for the funding included climate change, protecting the Great Barrier Reef, and enforcing stronger environmental standards.

Mr Miles said the Queensland Government committed $175 million ($35 million per year) over five years from 2017-18 to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The Budget has also delivered increased funding for environmental enforcement activities — $23.3 million over four years and $5 million ongoing.

“This funding will enhance the delivery of environmental regulatory services to protect our environment,” Mr Miles said.

“The environmental regulator will target areas of environmental risk and improve engagement with industry and the community.”