NWRIC State Associations update: October

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) State Affiliates provide a detailed overview of industry and policy changes across the country. 

NWRIC is the national industry body for commercial waste and recycling operators Australia wide.

It brings together national businesses and affiliated state associations to develop and promote policies and actions to advance waste management and resource recovery in Australia – ensuring a fair, safe and sustainable industry that serves all Australians.

NWRIC affiliated state associations include the Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ), the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW & ACT (WCRA), the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), the Waste Recycling Industry of South Australia (WRISA), the Waste Recycling Industry of Western Australia (WRIWA) and the Waste Recycling Industry Northern Territory (WRINT).


In the lead up to the Queensland State Election (Saturday 31 October), WRIQ has been advocating for our members and our industry.

WRIQ has been engaged in a number of activities including releasing its Election Manifesto, high level meetings with both sides of politics and has written to all current sitting MPs outlining the vital role our sector plays in Queensland, with a list of our priorities including:

– Separation of regulatory and policy functions of DES

– Establishing a community benefit fund

– Creating market certainty

– Supporting the industry with job creation

– Tackling unfair contractual practices by a few local governments

In addition to this, WRIQ has also communicated with all candidates contesting seats in the lead up the election.

WRIQ has developed a podcast about the platform that will be released shortly.


WRIQ has recently completed a review of its member perceptions about government grant programs and has identified inconsistency, confusion and a lack of transparency in relation to government levy collection and grant distribution.

In response to this WRIQ, together with NWRIC and state affiliates, is collating state levy collection and grant distribution nationally over the past five years.

Together, we are hoping to understand how much is collected and how much is distributed back to the sector via grants. Preliminary work has identified transparency on grant distribution is inconsistent across Australian jurisdictions.

WRIQ and state affiliates will soon circulate a survey for feedback from people about their experiences with government grant programs, as well as collating general feedback and case studies of where grants have gone wrong.

If you have any feedback on this, you are encouraged to contact WRIQ CEO and Project Leader Mark.smith@wriq.com.au


The West Australian container deposit scheme – Containers for Change – rolled out on 1 October with 645,000 eligible containers collected on that day.

It aims to capture 80 per cent of eligible containers within three years of commencement. The WA scheme has been well informed by experience in other states, particularly South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

WRIWA was a strong lobby on behalf of industry for robust targets and transparency within the Containers for Change system, and through our affiliation with NWRIC were able to discuss best practice with our colleagues nationally.

WRIWA’s major contribution to the scheme was a revenue sharing protocol (RSP) between MRF operators and local government.

The RSP does not preclude MRF operators and local governments from negotiating private arrangements, but applies wherever agreement cannot be reached and provides a catch-all solution. The RSP captures all MRF costs and divides the resulting revenue 50/50.

Negotiations were coordinated by the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and agreed by industry and local governments with an impartial ‘reasonableness and quality’ check by Ernst and Young on the final agreement.


Roads to Reuse (RTR) was initiated by the WA Waste Authority with Main Roads WA (WRWA), and DWER in consultation with WRIWA representing industry, to encourage the use of Crushed Recycled Concrete (CRC) in state government infrastructure projects managed by MRWA.

The program trial of 25,000 tonnes was completed in 2019 and was a complete success.

MRWA has committed to using 100,000 tonnes of CRC in 2020, 200,000 tonnes in 2021 and to doubling the quantities in following years.

RTR has changed the construction and demolition landscape in WA, creating a viable market for high quality road building aggregates from waste.

This new program followed an unsuccessful attempt to produce CRC in 2011 when unfortunately, the product was found to be asbestos-contaminated. Key to RTR’s success has been the development of a robust product specification, and education of industry in compliance with that specification.

WRIWA was invited to represent industry on the RTR working group and concluded after an investigation into the events of 2011 that the CRC industry in WA had, at that time, lacked the level of understanding and commitment to quality assurance that are necessary for a viable CRC industry.

WRIWA concluded that a rigorous quality-assured specification had to be established if CRC was to be viable and that WRIWA would support the development of that standard and its acceptance by the industry.

Through NWRIC, WRIWA was grateful to be put in touch with the Alex Fraser Group based in Victoria.

Victoria is the only other jurisdiction in Australia that has a CRC industry that supplies to the state government road builders (Vicroads). Alex Fraser Group advised that if the CRC industry in WA was to succeed it would need a culture that supported rigorous quality assurance standards and independent testing, particularly of asbestos contamination.

WRIWA brought together the CRC industry to attend information seminars with the RTR working group that provided a general introduction to the new CRC specification, and to educate industry on practical measures to deliver a quality assured product that would meet the RTR specification.

Subsequently, four of WRIWA’s members have completed the RTR Management and Sampling Plan (MASP) requirements in order to participate in the RTR program and have pre-qualified to supply to MRWA.

Mike Harper, WRIWA President, commented: “RTR is a great program and is a model for how government and industry can work together in the waste and recycling sector.

“We commend the Western Australian Government, including Hon Stephen Dawson, Minister for the Environment, and Hon Rita Saffioti Minister for Transport and Planning; the Waste Authority; Main Roads WA and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation for decisions and actions which have delivered the Roads to Reuse project.”


Industry held its first face to face meeting in Darwin this week with its members since the emergence of COVID-19. It has also held meetings with a number of key stakeholders including recently elected Minister Eva Lawler.

Discussions included the key actions the Territory Government has agreed to support in terms of the National Waste Policy Action Plan and reforms to the Territory’s waste legislation.

This article is the fifth in an ongoing monthly series. 

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