NT Industry Summit to address local market opportunities

The Territory Waste and Recycling Industry Summit, held 1-2 April in Darwin, will provide an opportunity to discuss strategic developments in the Northern Territory’s resource recovery sector.

According to Waste Recycling Industry Association Northern Territory (WRINT) CEO Rick Ralph, the waste management and secondary resources industry, representing both private and local government operations, currently provides more than 1360 jobs for Territorians and turns over more than $152 million annually.

In 2017-18, the industry managed more than 517,800 tonnes of waste and recyclables, Mr Ralph said, ensuring more than one third of those materials escaped landfill.

“On March 13, COAG will meet to discuss how Australia will manage the proposed bans on the exports of glass, tyres, plastics plus paper and cardboard. The Darwin summit provides industry, local government and territory agencies with the opportunity to discuss the COAG meeting outcomes looking to the future,” Mr Ralph said.

The territories future recycling and diversion rates, Mr Ralph said, are directly linked to both the broader Australian secondary market reuse and new local market opportunities.

“The international challenges facing export markets compound this problem, and we need new local solutions and ideas to sustain and grow the industry,” he said.

Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Michael Gunner will lead the summit, with a presentation on insights gained from a GHD analysis into commercial market opportunities.

“We will identify new opportunities for the territory to maintain its recycling systems and enhance landfill diversion, ensuring the waste and recycling industry remains a vibrant contributor to the economy, while supporting ongoing territory jobs,” Mr Gunner said.

According to Mr Gunner, in January, his government engaged consultants GDH to undertake an assessment of future commercial waste industry opportunities that could be developed locally.

“The summit will discuss that business assessment with our top priority being jobs. It will focus on potential new business solutions, as well as discussing how we can improve our local recycling performance,” he said.

As part of the summit Mr Ralph will ask attendees to identify and report on five key opportunities for the territory, which WRINT will present back to government for consideration and future implementation.

“The industry summit in Darwin will bring all stakeholders together, engaging key industry experts, and I am confident the outcomes will present new local opportunities to take advantage of the waste challenges in Australia and more particularly the NT face,” he said.

Northern Territory Environment and Natural Resource Minister Eva Lawler will also address the summit at a breakfast event on day two.

“Presentations throughout the summit will provide information from industry leaders on how business and government can continue to deliver innovative secondary resource recovery solutions and maintain community confidence in recycling,” Mr Ralph said.

For register click here.

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NT passes new Environment Protection Bill

A new environmental impact assessment system will be implemented in the Northern Territory, following the passing of the state’s amended Environment Protection Bill 2019.

Environment Minister Eva Lawler said the bill provides new approaches to environmental protection including environmental offsets and protected environmental areas.

“We are replacing outdated legislation and practice, ensuring we are strengthening governance and accountability for environmental decisions, supporting local jobs and providing greater certainty for the community and business,” Ms Lawler said.

“Our natural environment is one of our best assets and a huge part of what makes living in the Territory so special, good environmental policy is smart economic policy.”

According to Ms Lawler, the Environment Protection Act 2019 establishes clearer guidance on when a project must be referred to assessment for its impact on the environment, and sets out the criteria, principles and considerations by which a project must be assessed.

“This means that projects which may have a significant impact on the Territory’s environment will undergo rigorous environmental assessment, informing the decision to grant (or not) an environmental approval,” Ms Lawler said.

“It also includes provisions to ensure proponents and approval holders comply with their obligations to minimise unauthorised harm to the environment. Another first and a significant step to strengthening the environment protection regime in the Territory.”

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NT to consider CDS review recommendations

The Northern Territory Government is considering recommendations after an independent review of the state’s container deposit scheme.

The review showed a 30 per cent increase in the number of containers recycled since the scheme commenced in 2012.

Additionally, 83 per cent of review participants considered the scheme successful.

According to Environment Minister Eva Lawler, the scheme generated more than $11 million for community groups, schools and Territorians in 2017-18.

“Protecting our environment creates jobs, and good environmental policy like the container deposit scheme is smart economic policy for the Territory,” Ms. Lawler said.

“We are making the Territory cleaner, increasing our recycling and removing litter from landfill – since 2012 more than half a billion containers have been processed under the container deposit scheme.”

The review highlighted 21 recommendations to improve the scheme, with the state government supporting 17 in full, two in principle and leaving the remaining two subject to further consideration.

Ms. Lawler said recommendations fall into five broad categories, accessibility in regional and remote areas, broadening the scheme to include currently exempt containers such as wine bottles and milk cartons, reducing the regulatory burden on industry, targeted community awareness and improved data collection and regular auditing.

“An implementation plan has been developed which will see the recommendations rolled out in phases over the next two years, which includes consultation with industry and engagement with local government and community organisations through the process,” Ms Lawler said.

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