Waste services in Australia starts growing at a fast pace, resulting in a developing and expanding waste industry. Despite the sector's rapid growth, industry stakeholders were only coming together once every two years at a conference in Adelaide. No other information exchange existed, representing a major gap in the industry.
The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) is launched, run mostly by volunteers. A network of state branches exist largely to provide networking and local information sharing. Frank Schmidt is appointed the first president of WMAA and he was key in the formation of the association as a legal entity and led the young association in its early years.
WMAA receives funding from five major members to hire an inaugural CEO with the aim of growing the association. WMAA also receives a $10,000 donation from John Cook of Waste Services NSW. Val Southam is appointed WMAA's first CEO. She proceeds to set up a national office to centralise services, link state branches and working groups, and consider national issues.
WMAA launches its National Landfill and Transfer Stations conference, which is still a flagship biennial event.
2005 and beyond
Today, the association continues to grow from strength to strength. Its state branches and working groups are now the backbone of the association that seek to engage all members as they aim to meet the strategic and advocacy objectives that guide the operations and advocacy of the peak national body for the essential waste and resource recovery industry.
The association now runs numerous sell-out conferences and events, including the biennial Energy from Waste Conference and Enviro, as well as the popular Women of Waste series across a number of jurisdictions, and state-based industry forums, meetings, and networking events. Additionally, the association is at the table in all state and federal industry discussions, playing a pivotal role in influencing policy settings through a raft of important measures such as policy submissions and position papers.
On 1 January 2019, WMAA changed its name to the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), a name chosen and adopted by our members to reflect the needs of our diverse and growing membership and to acknowledge the ever-increasing participation by MRFs, reprocessors, and remanufacturers. To that end, WMRR also launched the Resource Recovery and Market Development (RRMD) division and state-based working groups to capture these positive changes.