The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement on the weekend of two reviews aimed at strengthening the State’s waste and resource recovery industry.
These reviews follow last week’s announcement that the Government will inject $35 million to fix the sector’s challenges, with a significant portion committed to developing secondary processing infrastructure for priority materials.
“WMRR welcomes the review by the Essential Services Commission. We’ve long advocated that our sector provides an essential service, playing a fundamental role in protecting human health and the environment. The challenges of late have proven that our sector is as important as water and energy, given the threats to the sector have significantly impacted our way of life,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.
The Victorian Government is also reviewing its landfill levy, which WMRR says couldn’t come sooner, with Queensland about a month away from rolling out its waste levy.
“With Queensland implementing a waste levy of $75 per tonne on 1 July 2019, industry has raised concerns that Victoria, with the lowest metropolitan levy rate on the eastern seaboard, could become the new dumping ground for operators trying to find a commercial advantage over others,” Ms Sloan said.
“However, this review needs to go beyond stopping the unnecessary transportation of waste. Victoria has an opportunity to consider how its landfill levy can become the economic instrument required to drive diversion from landfill and grow resource recovery into the future.”
Ms Sloan pointed to the 2018 Auditor-General’s report which found that there was no satisfactory process to ensure monies collected through the landfill levy was spent according to legal requirements and that since 2009, under 50% collected was spent with more than $500 million sitting in the Sustainability Fund.
“The Government needs to go one step further and review the Environment Protection Act to ensure that the levy’s purpose is not to raise revenue but to drive resource recovery. WMRR is calling for a minimum of 50% of landfill levy funds to be reinvested back into industry annually,” Ms Sloan said.