The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) has released its plan for a thriving, safe, smart, and sustainable sector via their Queensland Election Manifesto 2020.
The manifesto provides the vision and direction required to capitalise on the sector’s current opportunities and identifies how industry and state and local governments can work together to tackle the sector’s current challenges.
According to WRIQ CEO Mark Smith, with the right market interventions and a collaborative approach between industry and government, Queensland is poised to be Australia’s most efficient and effective waste and resource recovery market.
“The waste and resource recovery industry touches every part of the Queensland economy. We are an essential service that continues 24/7 even during the pandemic,” he said.
“Our role if anything has become more vital during the pandemic to support communities and business as the economy adapts and transitions”
The manifesto outlines four pillars to build a safe, smart and sustainable waste and resource recovery sector that will encourage investment, create jobs and provide career pathways for young people to develop skills required for the future workforce.
WRIQ wants to see the state government make Queensland the place to invest. Supported by an effective approach to regulation that is consistent, predictable, and transparent.
“There has been reactive decision making by some jurisdictions in the wake of the challenges we collectively face but our platform is about addressing those challenges with appropriate engagement and partnerships with industry and planning for Queensland’s future including creating pathways for the future work force and attracting private investment to build the sector for our future,” Smith said.
He added that WRIQ identifies the shared responsibility across business and government to build community trust and confidence in Queensland’s waste and recycling network which delivers vital services to all aspects of the economy.
“The sector is poised for greatness and WRIQ’s ask to the major parties is help us help you to create the most progressive and thriving waste and recycling sector in the country,” he said.
“With the right government interventions and support, we will be make Queensland a centre of excellence and expertise which is essential as Queensland will be competing with interstate jurisdictions for equity to build and expand Australia’s waste and resource recovery capabilities on the back of COAG waste export bans.”
The manifesto advocates for a separation of the regulatory role, and industry policy and development roles of the Department of Environment and Science, and is calling on the government to invest a greater share of state’s landfill levy back into those communities that are housing vital waste and recycling infrastructure.
“Supporting these communities is vital to building trust and value of the sector, which has been eroded in recent years,” Smith said.
“As well as using these levies to support the industry in training businesses and skills to meet new regulatory requirements and to weed out illegal operators.”
To tackle Queensland’s biggest waste and resource recovery opportunities, WRIQ proposes focused and targeted work with high waste generating sectors, which would be supported through partnerships with industry associations and peak bodies to work on solutions to their collective waste challenges.
This should include, Smith said, state and local government projects that prioritise the use recycled products to help create local demand for secondary resources that will enable Queensland to manage its own waste.
“Waste management and resource recovery is a global challenge and wouldn’t it be great to see Queensland and Australia as a leader in global education and training in this growing space particularly in the Asia Pacific region,” he said.
“I want to see Queensland seize the opportunities available to us when life goes back to our new normal.”
WRIQ also identifies the agriculture sector for its positive movement in collecting and processing organics, and wants to see state government commit to building Australia’s most progressive organics sector.
The manifesto acknowledges that Queensland needs greater landfill diversion programs, and these are best delivered by meaningful partnerships with industry.
“The way forward is through collaboration, embedding sustainability and waste management principles in emerging industries and research,” Smith said.
“Queensland is well placed to support business develop and commercialise new processes, technologies, and standards.
“We can see great progress on some the state’s biggest waste challenges through targeted long-term commitments with priority industry sectors.”
Smith added that WRIQ members have the willingness to invest, the skills and knowledge to respond to the challenges ahead of us.
“We want to tackle these challenges and create the most progressive waste and resource recovery agenda in the country,” Smith said.
“This will achieve positive outcomes for the sector, for Queenslanders and the Queensland economy.”
To view WRIQ’s Queensland Election Manifesto 2020 click here.