Regulation Review

Victoria sets waste plan for next 30 years

Veolia garbage-truck-with-bin
The Victorian government released the Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan (SWRRIP) in June. It aims to provide a well-planned system to manage the state’s waste and the growing economy around it. Its detail is of interest to anyone working in the waste industry throughout Australia.

The Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan (SWRRIP) is about planning Victoria’s future infrastructure needs to cope with the projected population growth in the next 30 years and its associated waste, which is expected to rise to about 21 million tonnes a year by 2043. Of that, about 14 million tonnes (based on a 66 per cent recovery rate) is potentially recyclable material. The government would like to see that percentage increase, so the SWRRIP is the strategy to realise that vision.

The draft SWRRIP was released for public consultation between September and December 2013. In finalising the plan, Sustainability Victoria considered feedback from 16 consultation workshops and 50 written submissions.

Four Goals

To promote increased resource recovery, the SWRRIP has four goals:

Landfills to become a last resort waste solution
Landfills will only be for receiving and treating waste streams from which all materials that can be viably recovered have been extracted.

Recovered materials are made available in marketable quantities
Materials are made available to the resource recovery market through aggregation and consolidation of volumes to create viability in recovering valuable resources from waste.

Fair, planned waste treatment
Waste and resource recovery facilities, including landfills, are established and managed over their lifetime to provide the best economic, community, environment and public health outcomes for local communities and the state, and ensure their impacts are not disproportionately felt across communities.

Informing future plans
Targeted information provides the evidence base to inform integrated statewide waste and resource recovery infrastructure planning and investment at the state, regional and local levels by industry, local government, waste and resource recovery groups, government agencies and the broader community.

Seven Initiatives

The SWRRIP will be underpinned by seven enabling initiatives:
Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plans (RWRRIPs) – to be developed by seven regional waste management groups and, through them, councils, communities and industries, to identify local opportunities and requirements.

  • A Community and Business Waste Education Strategy – with a focus on helping companies and the wider public understand their roles and responsibilities in reducing and recovering waste.
  • The Victorian Market Development Strategy for Recovered Resources – aims to meet community expectations for a healthy environment (public health) and to stimulate markets for recycled materials.
  • The Organics Strategy – aims to balance community expectations and drive investment into more advanced treatment technologies to ensure the sustainability of the organics sector.
  • A Collaborative Procurement Framework – to support regional waste management groups in helping councils to offer larger contracts, which will stimulate investment.
  • An Investment Facilitation Framework – a government service to assist prospective sector investors through identifying opportunities and helping negotiate various government requirements.
  • A Waste Data Governance Framework – to provide standardised, timely and useful data to all stakeholders.

The entire SWRRIP is underpinned by “environmental justice” principles, where “the community must be involved in determining the waste and resource recovery priorities and have opportunities to participate in the decisions”.

Two notable features of this government’s priorities reflected in the SWRRIP are its apparent willingness to intervene to stimulate markets for recovered resources, and its commitment to environmental justice. The latter means any benefits and impacts are distributed proportionately, and that affected communities have a say in decisions about future systems.

Full information on the SWRRIP is available at www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/swrrip

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