Further investment in waste recovery and processing infrastructure is needed for economic growth in South Australia, according to the state’s newly released 20-year infrastructure strategy.
Developed by Infrastructure South Australia (ISA), the strategy will be used to provide advice to government and enable informed and evidence-based decision making on infrastructure planning, investment and delivery.
In addition to waste infrastructure investment, the strategy outlines the need to develop appropriate waste policy settings that provide certainty and encourage private sector investment.
Premier Steven Marshall said the state government had delivered on a key election commitment to establish ISA as an independent body to provide expert and evidence-based advice.
“ISA’s first 20-year infrastructure strategy provides a road map outlining the crucial long-term infrastructure issues we need to address to grow our economy, improve government service delivery, support population growth and create more jobs,” he said.
According to the strategy, waste and resource recovery infrastructure planning and investment will play a role in supporting future industry development and economic growth.
“Recycled materials are typically low-margin products in some markets, and products are still relatively new or emerging,” the strategy reads.
“The development of a market for recycled products will encourage private sector investment in the infrastructure and processing of waste streams.”
Furthermore, the strategy suggests that new and expanded infrastructure will be needed over time to manage increased volumes of waste generation due to population and economic growth in the state.
“It will also assist national recycling and recovery efforts (e.g. plastics processing infrastructure based in South Australia may provide a solution for the effective recycling of plastic material generated interstate),” the strategy reads.
Key considerations for siting large-scale waste, recycling and re-manufacturing infrastructure include suitable separation distances, logistical considerations relative to sources and destination of inputs and outputs, technology used and access to services such as electricity, gas and water.
It is likely that larger-scale, more intensive waste and resource recovery infrastructure will be positioned within the Greater Adelaide Area, the strategy states, rather than in regional South Australia.
“This acknowledges the larger volumes of material generated in metropolitan areas, access to transport networks and proximity to many of the final markets for recycled products or ports for export to overseas markets,” the strategy reads.
ISA highlights that regions face unique challenges for waste management and related infrastructure, outlining a limited number of and access to landfills.
As such, one of the strategy’s key priorities is to develop regional waste management plans.
“With the relatively low margins generated by recycled products, it is a greater challenge for regional South Australia to economically process its waste,” the strategy reads.
“Further investigations are required to ensure that waste generated in the regions can be responsibly managed and delivered to recycling and processing infrastructure.”
ISA suggests that Green Industries SA support the updating and/or development of regional waste management plans to address specific logistics, and provide solutions for efficient waste management.
ISA also outlines that new strategies, technology and processes will be required to effectively manage new waste streams such as solar PV panels and lithium batteries.
“This is a national issue and South Australia can potentially position itself as a leader via development of an e-waste processing hub to create a market for processing these waste streams,” the strategy reads.
“Further work is required to develop a strategy to guide this and demonstrate economic viability. Green Industries SA should develop a strategy to support private sector investment in South Australia to recover and process these new waste streams.”