CEO Report: Inside Waste April - May 18 Issue

From the CEO’s desk

In the blink of an eye, we’re now into the last quarter of the year. 2020 has been “interesting” to say the least – undeniably because of COVID-19 but also because of the unabated attention on our essential Waste and Resource Recovery (WARR) sector.

It is encouraging to see continued engagement within and beyond our industry, as also evidenced by the scores of WMRR members who put their hand up this year to lead their state/territory Branch Committees and working groups. WMRR’s 2020-2022 leaders are now firmly in their seats, working to build on the foundation laid by chairs, vice chairs, presidents and vice presidents that came before them.

We are all aware that there is much work to be done over the next 12 months on both a state/territory and national level. Thus, it is timely that we go around Australia to look at the key issues WMRR’s 2020-2022 state/territory Branch Committee presidents will be focusing over the year. But as they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so, we dug deep and asked them to reveal a little known fact or something fun about themselves. If you’d like to join your state/territory Branch Committee or any (or all!) of WMRR’s working groups, please contact the national office at [email protected].

NSW Branch Committee
President: Phil Carbins, SUEZ



Over the next 12 months, NSW will have a new 20 Year Waste Strategy that will require WMRR’s involvement through all stages of development, as well as supporting members to transition to the future circular economy and low carbon state. Meeting the circular economy objectives will require ongoing engagement throughout the value chain, based on a demand model, and include recycled product purchasers, processors/operators, households/customers, manufacturers and product designers. The role of government policy and regulation is integral to all steps in this process.

No pain no gain

I sustained an injury whilst attending the Sardinia Landfill Symposium (in the 2000s) that required a rapid return to Australia and surgery!

Queensland Branch Committee
President: Matthew McCarthy, Townsville City Council



The Queensland Waste Strategy, and the waste levy that underpins it, has been in place for over a year now and industry is rapidly changing on multiple fronts. The Branch continues to positively influence this change, supported by positive engagement with the working groups.

At the time of writing, the Queensland elections were imminent and among our priorities for the sector are ensuring Queensland has a long-term strategic state-wide WARR infrastructure plan that guides investment, with a dedicated and transparent fund to manage the levy payments collected and the reinvestment of the 70% that has been committed back to our essential industry.

Starting young

I recall when I was five years old, waking up early on bin collection day and watching the bins being humped to the truck, and thinking – “one day I’ll be a garbo”. Now look where I’ve ended up!

SA/NT Branch Committee
President: John Phillips, Think Environment



The Branch will play an important role in shaping the future of resource recovery and the circular economy through consultation and contribution, embracing ongoing EPA-driven waste reform via regulatory and strategic focus, underpinned by the 2020–2025 State Waste Strategy.

The outcomes of the scoping review of the CDS legislation will have the potential to influence all jurisdictions engaged in the evolving CDS landscape.

The disruption caused by COVID-19, summer bushfires, and response to COAG bans will heighten focus on WARR infrastructure, capacity, and community resilience in the context of essential services management and processes enabled through the sector.

An industry veteran

My recent retirement as CEO of iconic NGO KESAB after 30 years and establishing my own consultancy will allow me to maintain an upfront position to assist various corporates and NGOs with respective sustainability engagement and project design and management.

Tasmania Branch Committee
President: Justin Jones, Just Waste Consulting




The Tasmanian waste and resource recovery landscape is about to embark on two (2) major changes - the introduction of a legislated Waste Levy in 2021 and a Container Refund Scheme in 2022.

The Waste Action Plan 2019 sets a variety of goals for increasing recycling, organics diversion from landfill and opportunities to look higher up the waste hierarchy with the avoidance of problematic materials. The state government has also committed to allocating 100% of the levy funds collected to waste and resource recovery activities.

With 2021 fast approaching, a levy amount is yet to be released and we are all hoping that a value will be set high enough to make real change and drive investment and diversion.

Behind every great man…

I have three beautiful children, all girls. I never thought I would be a netball or ballet dad but love watching them at their chosen interests. I also love nothing better than enjoying a glass of wine and conversing with my wife.

Victoria Branch Committee
President: Kirstin Coote, Bunnings


From 1 July 2021, when the new EP Act commences, the EPA will have increased powers and we will continue to support our members to prepare and understand their responsibilities under this change.

The state’s circular economy policy - Recycling Victoria - will be implemented and there will be multiple opportunities and issues related to the introduction of the CDS, new waste Act and authority, investment in industry, EfW, modernising of WARR data systems, addressing high risk and hazardous waste, and transformation of kerbside services.

Loud and proud

Thanks to my wonderful childhood being on farms, I have perfected one of the loudest whistles my kids have had the misfortune of hearing. It's also proved to be very helpful when trying to get the attention of a large groups on the odd resource recovery facility site tour too over the years.

WA Branch Committee
President: Lia Barnett



There are a number of significant WARR initiatives including the commencement and effective operation of the CDS, growth of FOGO, and EfW. Against this backdrop of change, we will continue to keep the focus on the need to develop markets for recovered resources.

Waste education will also be a focus as consistent, effective, and science-based education is vital.

Answering the call

It has been a quick rise from a phone call to Gayle Sloan (WMRR CEO) one lazy afternoon saying I would like to get involved in the WMRR committee to being elected president that resulted from a tight race with a strong field of one (1) nominee.