WA seeks consultation on waste-derived materials framework

The Western Australian Government is seeking community feedback on its proposed legislative framework for waste-derived materials.

The legislative amendments seek to provide certainty about when waste-derived materials are no longer waste, meaning depositing them to land in quantities above licensing thresholds would not be considered waste disposal and licensing and waste levy requirements would not be triggered.

Currently, waste-derived materials cannot be used for purposes such as fill without potentially creating landfill levy obligations or triggering licensing requirements.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the reforms will set standards and conditions to allow waste-derived materials to be used instead of virgin materials such as sand as fill for construction.

“Implementation of the waste-derived materials framework will support the objectives of the Waste Strategy 2030, by encouraging the use of waste-derived materials to build confidence in recycled products, increase demand for them, and develop relevant markets while protecting the environment,” Dawson said.

The new framework is modelled primarily on the NSW resource recovery framework, bringing in elements from Queensland and South Australia.

If implemented, the framework will amend the definition of waste to clarify that waste-derived materials cease to be waste when used in accordance with a relevant waste-derived materials determination.

It would also empower the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation CEO to assess an application for, and grant or refuse to grant, a waste-derived materials determination.

These determinations would outline the circumstances under which a waste-derived material ceases to be waste for the purpose of environmental protection and waste levy regimes.

Waste-derived material determinations would consist of a product specification, which applies to the producer and outlines the conditions to be met to supply a waste-derived material for use in ways that would otherwise require a licence.

Determinations would also consist of a declaration, which applies to users and outlines the conditions to be met in order for the waste-derived material to cease to be waste and not require a licence for the land on which it is used, nor payment of the waste levy where applicable.

According to Dawson, public consultation on the proposed framework will give stakeholders an opportunity to have their say on the framework, as well as proposed changes to the Environmental Protection Act 1986, Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 and Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Levy Act 2007. 

“I strongly encourage everyone with an interest to provide feedback to help shape the proposed legislative framework for waste-derived materials,” he said.

Consultation closes 18 December.

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