NSW awards over $1M to Aboriginal waste and land projects

The NSW Government has awarded $1,092,270 to 13 Local Aboriginal Land Councils for community waste projects designed to clean up and prevent illegal dumping on their land.

According to an EPA statement, Cowra, Dubbo, Worimi, Illawarra, Mindaribba, Wanaruah, Ngambri, Tibooburra, Amaroo, Cobowra and Menindee Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been awarded a total of $692,270 from the Aboriginal Land Clean Up and Prevention (ALCUP) program.

“Cleaning up a heritage property, developing a bush tucker garden, revegetating a historic campground, removing asbestos waste and stopping illegal access to dumping hot spots are among the planned ALCUP projects and clean-up activities,” the statement reads.

EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Regional Carmen Dwyer said many Aboriginal communities faced waste disposal barriers due to lack of services, resources and limited access to waste management facilities.

“The EPA recognises the difficult and diverse challenges faced in many remote Aboriginal communities and is committed to helping local land councils improve their environment and create long-term change,” Ms Dwyer said.

“This funding will help Local Aboriginal Land Councils tackle issues in their areas. Illegal dumping of waste is a common problem, and these grants will help make a big difference to local communities.”

A total of $726,181 has already been awarded under the ALCUP, funded through the state government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

Ms Dwyer said the program encourages community education and partnerships, and incorporates cultural activities to reduce and prevent the occurrence of illegal dumping.

“Previously, the program has funded clean-up work, surveillance cameras, deterrence signage, education and awareness programs and bush regeneration,” she said.

“Since 2006, the program has seen 6108 tonnes of waste cleaned up, 1344 tonnes of waste safely disposed of at landfills and 1706 tonnes of materials recycled.”

Additionally, Moree, Amaroo and Walgett Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been awarded a total of $400,000 under the Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program (ACWMP).

“The three ACWMP projects receiving funding will tackle bulky waste and litter in a variety of unique ways, including cleaning out a dam to restock with fish, removing damaged cars, clearing demolished house materials, removing dumped waste from riverbanks, unblocking drains, planting native grasses, growing bush tucker medicines and starting vegetable gardens and chicken-keeping,” the EPA statement reads.

“Aboriginal community members will be employed by some land councils as rangers or to undertake the work.”

The $4 million ACWMP is funded for four years until 2021.

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NSW injects $24M into kerbside FOGO

The NSW Government will provide $24 million in funding to support local councils and the alternative waste industry improve food and garden waste kerbside separation.

The financial injection follows the NSW EPA’s controversial October 2019 reaffirmation of its 2018 mixed waste organic output revocation, which saw the material banned from agricultural land applications.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the funding will help local councils and industry adopt and improve sustainable organic waste management, while the government undertakes consultation for its NSW 20 Year Waste Strategy.

“We know from the $105 million investment currently provided under the Waste Less Recycle More initiative that recycling food and garden waste through a dedicated kerbside bin works. Already more than 40 councils across NSW have food and garden kerbside collections with good results,” he said.

“To help make this change, we’re investing $24 million to support local councils and industry operators that were putting organic waste in red bins to produce mixed waste organic outputs.”

According to Mr Kean, the initiative is financial viable and will create a beneficial product that helps improve soil health.

“That’s why we are providing this type of support for the alternative waste industry and councils. The $24 million will help councils implement or improve kerbside organic waste collections, purchase new equipment and upgrade facilities,” Mr Kean said.

The EPA and Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will also undertake organics research to improve investor confidence in collection and processing.

“This funding boost will support local government and industry while we develop the best long-term solutions for waste management and resource recovery through the NSW 20 Year Waste Strategy,” Mr Kean said.

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REMONDIS and Lake Macquarie open new organics processing facility

REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council have opened a new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility.

REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council have opened a new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility in late July.

It is part of the council’s new three-bin waste management system, which aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by as much as one third by recycling food refuse.

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Food and green waste will be recycled at the new facility and turned into compost products for reuse on parks, grounds and sporting fields.

The facility has a unique hybrid model of ‘in-vessel’ and ‘mobile aerated floor’ systems and includes a fully automated tunnel composting system to pasteurise food waste in two weeks

With a mobile aerated floor finishing. It also includes an automatic, cashless weighbridge system that gives users access to the facility with the swipe of a card.

REMONDIS CEO Luke Agati said the company is proud to be investing in Lake Macquarie and the Australian resource recovery sector.

“REMONDIS has been composting garden waste at Awaba for Lake Macquarie City Council since 2013, and this new facility will enable us to also convert food waste into a valuable resource,” Mr Agati said.

“The facility will convert up to 44,000 tonnes per year of organic waste into compost and soil amendment products.

“REMONDIS applauds forward-thinking local government organisations such as Lake Macquarie City Council for their dedication to building the vital recycling infrastructure that will create job opportunities, strengthen the Australian economy and reduce our environmental footprint.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the Organics Resource Recovery Facility would see the City take a leading role in recycling and waste management.

“This is a significant step in our Waste Strategy and in our efforts to encourage people to think and act more responsibly about household waste disposal,” Cr Fraser said.

“By making it easy for residents to dispose of organic waste appropriately, we will encourage them to recycle and close the food consumption loop.

“About one third of household garbage bin contents is food waste, so this will divert significant amounts of organic material from landfill, extending the life of our Awaba Waste Management Facility and saving an estimated $4 million over 10 years in waste management costs.”

The project was supported by a grant of $2 million as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycled More initiative, funded from the waste levy.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the NSW Government was pleased to assist by contributing a $1.4 million grant to the facility and $0.6m for community engagement initiatives, from the EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

“This facility will improve the availability of organic compost for local primary producers and reduce unnecessary wastage of high quality organic material. I congratulate Lake Macquarie City Council in securing investment from a business with the calibre of REMONDIS.”

More than 100 contracting firms were engaged to build the facility, which also features an education centre where schools and community groups can see the recycling process.

Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility Branch Manager Gunther Neumann said REMONDIS is proud of its environmental achievements in Lake Macquarie.

“Since 2013, REMONDIS has diverted more than 100,000 tonnes of garden organics from landfill in the region, saving more than $13 million in landfill levies for residents,” Mr Neumann said.

“With the opening of the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility, REMONDIS looks forward to a new chapter in organics processing that will deliver additional landfill levy savings and create new market opportunities locally, reinforcing our role as a valued member of the local community.”

Image: Lake Macquarie City Council

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