WMRR releases NSW election priorities

6 March 2019

Never has the spotlight on waste and resource recovery shone so brightly as it has over the last 18 months and it would be remiss of politicians to disregard this essential service in their election campaigning, especially with the community being crystal clear in their message: “We want recycling, and we want it now.”

At today’s Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) Save Our Recycling Election Summit, Waste Management and Resource Recovery CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, reiterated the importance of building a strong, sustainable, and resilient NSW waste and resource recovery sector in order to future-proof the State’s economy, protect our communities and environment, and create jobs in NSW.

“If China’s National Sword policy has taught us anything, it is the need to strengthen and grow both domestic processing/remanufacturing and local market demand, to decouple Australia from global markets, and to grow our own domestic markets,” Ms Sloan said, adding “But unfortunately 18 months on, we are nowhere close to realising that vision.”

“Getting there is a shared responsibility – all stakeholders need to play their part in responding to, and thriving in, this ‘new reality’. Businesses are ready to invest; industry wants and needs to grow its capacity to provide best practice services and the community must support resource recovery by their actions… It is now up to the NSW Government to show leadership and support our vital industry.”

WMRR is urging all parties to commit to six (6) key priorities in the NSW election on 23 March:

1. The creation of a market development agency similar to Sustainability Victoria (SV) and Green Industries South Australia (GISA).

2. Greater accountability and transparency of the landfill levy, and a return and reinvestment of 50% of levy funds raised each year to support diversion from landfill, grow remanufacturing facilities, and create markets.

3. To underpin this infrastructure and award funds accordingly, NSW must urgently recommit to finalising the Strategic Infrastructure Strategy, which has been placed on hold by the NSW EPA since July 2017, to strategically develop and approve required infrastructure.

4. The development of a specific Waste and Resource Recovery State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), including recognition that this infrastructure is critical/essential and requires certainty of both location (by way of designated precincts) and appropriate buffer zones.

5. Enforcement of the proximity principle and development of a common approach to managing ‘waste’ as it becomes a resource, which also requires resource recovery exemptions and orders to be certain and robust.

6. Commitment to sustainable procurement coupled with the development of specifications that include recycled content. Mandate the use of recycled/recovered content in procurement policies for Local and State Government, including State Government agencies, and ensure these are applied in procurement for all building, civil, and infrastructure works.

“There is simply no reason to stall the development of remanufacturing and resource recovery in the State when we know that recycling creates jobs. This essential industry requires support and development, not just regulation, and Government has an opportunity to take the lead in protecting the community, environment and our industry,” Ms Sloan said.