NWRIC calls for levy relief to support waste sector

The National Waste & Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) is calling on state governments to provide waste and landfill levy relief to the sector.

According to NWRIC CEO Rose Read, levy relief is an obvious and necessary measure that can be implemented quickly.

“Specifically, we are asking state governments to waiver landfill levy doubtful debts, put on hold all planned levy increases for at least six months and where appropriate consider waiving current waste and landfill levies for the next three months,” she said.

“We are also asking state and local governments to be more flexible on certain facility license conditions so that social distancing to protect staff can be maintained, and collection time curfews be lifted so that bins can continue to be collected.”

Ms Read said waste and recycling companies are doing everything possible to ensure bins continue to be collected and waste and recycling safely processed during these extreme times.

“With the shutdown of some non-essential services over the next 24 hours Australia-wide, the waste and recycling industry will increase efforts to ensure it can maintain an essential service to the community,” she said.

According to Ms Read, NWRIC members and state affiliates have been actively adopting measures over the past few weeks to protect their staff and maintain services to local communities, businesses and the health sector.

Ms Read recognised that like all businesses, the waste and recycling sector was experiencing disruption.

“The NWRIC acknowledges the substantial support the Commonwealth and State governments have announced so far for businesses,” she said.

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Industry set to see immediate Recycling Victoria impact

Victoria’s landfill levy increase is set to have an immediate impact on recovery rates, according to Bingo Industries Managing Director Daniel Tartak.

The increase – $65.90 to 125.90 over three years – is one of many changes outlined in Victoria’s new circular economy policy Recycling Victoria, released earlier this week. Additional changes include the introduction of a container deposit scheme and a $100 million infrastructure investment.

Mr Tartak welcomed the levy increase, applauding the state government’s bold efforts to develop Victoria’s recycling economy.

“It will further encourage recycling, optimise the diversion of waste from landfill and promote the development of a truly circular economy; promote investment in recycling technology, and move Victoria towards international best practice diversion rates,” Mr Tartak said.

“The staged increase in the levy also works well for our customers, who can now plan ahead for this and other structural changes, such as the new EPA Act and increased safety and compliance regulations which will also impact the sector.”

According to Mr Tartak, the polices, commitments and actions outlined in the plan align with BINGO’s Victorian strategy.

“We’ve invested more than $100 million over the past three years in the acquisition and development of recycling assets in anticipation of many of the initiatives outlined in this plan,” he said.

“We recently received approval to operate our advanced recycling facility in West Melbourne for 24 hours per day, seven day per week, so we’ll be ready to accommodate the increased volumes we expect to receive from 1 July onwards. ”

Mr Tartak also highlighted the plan’s support for the development of waste-to-energy facilities, increased resources to monitor illegal behaviour and commitment to increasing the use of recycled materials in construction projects as positive.

According to Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy, Recycling Victoria’s long term measures will help Victorian recover from the recycling crisis and take a leadership position, including in the use of recycled content in infrastructure.

“We’re pleased to see that the Victorian Government has released its new circular economy strategy – Recycling Victoria – overhauling the state’s recycling sector and further reducing waste going to landfill,” Mr Murphy said.

“The industry requires long term decisions, and the 10-year plan features reforms to accelerate Victoria’s shift to a circular economy, including supporting businesses and communities, creating local jobs, and leading the way in the use of recycled materials.”

In reference to Recycling Victoria’s container deposit scheme announcement, Cleanaway CEO Vik Bansal said the move was a step in the right direction towards achieving a circular economy.

“At Cleanaway we have seen firsthand the environmental, economic and social benefits of a container return scheme,” he said.

“A system that encourages consumers to separate recycling at the point of disposal improves the quality of the recyclable material, which makes it an even more valuable commodity for reuse.”

Mr Bansal also applauded the Victorian Government’s efforts to improve the quality of recyclable material across the state.

“The introduction of a fourth recycling bin for glass is expected to reduce contamination and create a cleaner commodity stream,” Mr Bansal said.

“This, in turn, means more materials will be recycled and opens up opportunities for a circular economy for glass.”

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Landfill levy set to double under Recycling Victoria strategy

Victoria’s landfill levy is set to almost double, with the release of the state’s long-awaited circular economy policy Recycling Victoria. 

According to Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the increase – $65.90 to $125.90 over three years – will help support recycling reforms and provide a stronger incentive to invest in new waste technologies.

“Victoria’s landfill levy is significantly lower than our neighbouring states, meaning Victoria is too often used as a dumping ground for waste coming from New South Wales and South Australia,” she said.

“The change reflects an agreement reached by state and territory treasurers to work towards the harmonisation of landfill levies, and will provide a strong incentive to reduce and recycle waste.”

The 10-year plan, Recycling Victoria, outlines a more than $300 million package of reforms, including a statewide four-bin kerbside system, container deposit scheme, nearly $100 million to support resource recovery infrastructure and recognising waste as an essential service.

“This is the largest package of recycling reforms and investment in Victoria’s history. It will revolutionise household recycling, drive business innovation and create jobs of the future. Most importantly, it will give Victorians a truly circular economy and recycling system they can rely on,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Furthermore, Recycling Victoria allocates $71.4 million to tackle waste crime, with more resources to stop illegal dumping and stockpiling and deal with high-risk sites and substances.

Ms D’Ambrosio said a dedicated Waste Crime Prevention Inspectorate will be established within the EPA, which will work closely with WorkSafe Victoria, emergency service agencies, councils and other regulators to improve information sharing and coordination.

“For too long, waste crime has undermined Victoria’s recycling sector with dangerous and illegal stockpiling. Our investment will help to clean up the industry and make it fairer for businesses that do the right thing,” she said.

Recycling Victoria also sets new goals for improved resource recovery including a landfill diversion target of 80 per cent. Additional targets include cutting total waste generation by 15 per cent per capita by 2030 and ensuring every Victorian household has access to FOGO services or local composing by 2025.

“These targets will create investment certainty for businesses, while promoting jobs and growth in the industry,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The government will also provide $14.6 million to support local projects that boost recycling, reduce littering and take advantage of economic opportunities to reduce waste, particularly in regional communities.”

Sustainability Victoria welcomed the release in a media statement, calling Recycling Victoria a bold and transformative 10-year plan to shift the state to a circular economy that wastes less and recycles more.

“We are proud to have played a significant role in developing the policy and our work to transform the recycling sector is already underway, with the launch of $39.5 million in grants from the Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund to boost recycling capacity in Victoria,” the statement reads.

“Reducing waste and creating a strong recycling system is a shared responsibility. We look forward to partnering with businesses, governments and individuals to move the state towards a circular economy that is built on innovation.”

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Looking into a later levy

Waste Management Review examines some of the reasons why the Queensland Government’s waste levy was pushed back to 1 July 2019 and what it means for the industry going forward.

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Preparing for the Queensland waste levy

Mandalay Technologies’ Lacey Webb explains five key factors local government and private sector operators should account for when getting themselves ‘levy ready’ in Queensland.

Read morePreparing for the Queensland waste levy

Landfill levy waived For bushfire victims

The Victorian Government has waived the landfill levy to help Victorians in the south west recover from bushfires.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced that the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (Victoria EPA) will work with local councils and landfill operators in the Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Moyne and Southern Grampians council areas to apply the exemption.

The waiver applies to the levy component of the gate price.

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The Victorian Government has also announced assistance for the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Moyne and Southern Grampians is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Anyone who has been affected by the bushfires and suffering personal hardship and distress should call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 to find out about the assistance available.

Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at disasterassist.gov.au and the VicEmergency website at emergency.vic.gov.au/relief

“We’re doing what we can to help those affected by these devastating bushfires,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“We’re helping farmers manage waste from dead livestock and damaged homes, sheds and fencing – so they can focus on getting back on their feet.”

Queensland Government opens interstate waste submissions

An independent investigation into the cross-border transport of waste to Queensland landfills is open for public submissions.

Retired Supreme Court Judge, The Honourable Peter Lyons QC will lead the investigation following a roundtable last month chaired by the Premier and Environment Minister Steven Miles.

Mr Miles said the three-month investigation would help ensure Queenslanders can have confidence in the waste transport industry.

“I encourage all transport, waste and recycling facility operators in New South Wales and South East Queensland to provide written submissions to this investigation,” Mr Miles said.

“The investigation will look at the incentives for movement of waste from other states, and how to prevent this from happening.

“It will also consider whether there’s a need for regulatory reform – and examine the role of other states and the Commonwealth.

“While this is not a regulatory or criminal investigation, it is expected that any unlawful activity it uncovers will be referred to the appropriate Queensland or interstate authorities.”

An interim report will be provided to the Government by 18 October 2017, with a final report due by 17 November 2017.

The closing date for submissions is 26 September 2017.

Details on how to make a submission are available from the investigation’s website at: www.qldwasteinvestigation.com.au

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