Review of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030
The Waste Authority held a special meeting on 16 August 2023 to consider the consultation outcomes of the waste strategy review Directions Paper following the close of the public consultation period on 11 July 2023. Members were extremely pleased to receive 112 formal submissions in response to the Directions Paper (66 online and 46 written) and 2,400 people participate through an online survey for phase 1 of the consultation process.
The release of the Directions Paper provided an early opportunity to reflect on how we are performing, what is working, and where we could do better. Outcomes from this consultation phase will be combined with subsequent phases and published on the Waste Authority website at the end of the final consultation period.
During the special meeting, Metrix Consulting provided an overview of the consultation outcomes which will help shape the review and define focus areas to inform the development of an updated draft waste strategy. Members were impressed with the thoughtfulness of the views put forward in the consultation feedback.
Feedback not only looked at practical solutions for the here and now, but also firmly placed on the agenda, innovation. There is an appetite for more focus on commercial and industrial waste, regional waste management, disaster recovery, and how we better harness the knowledge and expertise of our Aboriginal communities.
Feedback also shows a need to look at new technologies, and to be more self-reliant with a local circular economy producing new products with recycled content. Although construction and demolition recovery has been strong, there was concern that recovery from municipal and commercial and industrial waste has not shown sustained improvement. There is plenty of scope for innovation – and for making our solutions uniquely suited to Western Australia and our society.
At its September meeting, the Waste Authority considered a revised timeline for the release of the updated draft waste strategy, in the main, to avoid running the public consultation process during the fast-approaching Christmas/New Year period. The revised timeline will see consultation phase 2 – the release of the draft waste strategy occurring early next year for a 12-week period.
Draft State Waste Infrastructure Plan
The Waste Authority received an update on the outcomes of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s recent public consultation on the draft State Waste Infrastructure Plan (SWIP), which closed on 23 June 2023.
Members noted significant overlaps in the themes and issues raised by stakeholders through the SWIP consultation process and feedback received through the waste strategy review Directions Paper consultation. This provides an excellent opportunity to reinforce priority issues in both, and consistency in reinforcing the role of the SWIP as a supporting document of the waste strategy, providing a framework to help guide decision-making for the planning and development of waste infrastructure in Western Australia.
Draft 2022-23 Waste Authority Annual Report
The Waste Authority considered its draft 2022-23 Waste Authority Annual Report. Following final desktop edits, the 2022-23 Annual Report will be provided to the Minister for Environment, the Hon Reece Whitby MLA for his consideration prior to its tabling in Parliament. The report will be published on the Waste Authority website in late 2023, following its tabling in Parliament.
Development of National principles for product stewardship for tyres
Following the Environment Minister’s Meeting (EMM) held in June 2023, and a commitment that Western Australia would play a lead role in the development of national principles for product stewardship for tyres, members noted an update on the progress of this work.
A draft project plan has been developed, and Western Australia is working closely with other Australian jurisdictions on the project and engaging with stakeholders involved in the tyre value chain throughout the project.
Members noted that staff from the Department’s Circular Economy portfolio recently travelled to Canberra to present the draft project plan, which will see a draft problem statement, objectives and principles being finalised for consultation with industry prior to it being submitted to the next EMM on 10 November 2023.
E-waste to landfill ban by 2024
The Waste Authority received an update on progress towards delivering an e-waste to landfill ban in Western Australia by 2024. The ban will be underpinned by new regulations to give effect to the ban, supported by grants for e-waste management and recycling infrastructure, as well as a communications and community education campaign.
Members noted that a decision regulatory impact statement is currently progressing through approvals and is anticipated to be publicly released shortly.
In July 2023, the Minister for Environment announced successful projects under the first round of the Infrastructure Grants Program, which will see 21 projects share more than $6.5 million to boost Western Australia’s capacity of electrical and electronic waste. A second grants round is anticipated to open in the New Year.
Geographic area of the waste levy
The Waste Authority received an update from the Department on the preparation of a consultation regulatory impact assessment, supported by a cost-benefit analysis, of options for expanding the geographic area of the waste levy.
Consideration of options to expand the geographic area where the waste levy applies was a recommendation from the review of the waste levy. The consultation summary report from this review was released in May 2023.
Waste Export bans and Recycling Modernisation Funding
The Waste Authority received an update on the status of the National waste export bans and the State and Commonwealth joint funding allocated to the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF).
Members were pleased to note that the Commonwealth Government recently announced a further $60 million nationally under its RMF – Plastics Technology (PT) stream, which aims to put in place state-of-the-art advanced recycling solutions for hard to recycle plastics, including soft plastics.
The Department is currently undertaking a two-staged application process – where stage one – an expression of interest process, recently closed on 14 August 2023. Applications that have progressed to stage two are required to submit a detailed project plan, project budget, business case and cost benefit analysis in September 2023.
Members also noted that the Department launched Western Australia’s second round of RMF General Stream funding on 11 September 2023. It is seeking additional plastics, tyres, and paper and cardboard waste recycling infrastructure projects. Grant funding worth up to $30 million, plus up to $5 million of industrial land, is available for allocation. Funding will be invested in projects that create or improve domestic recovery, sorting, processing, reuse, recycling or remanufacturing of plastic, tyres, and paper and cardboard.
Applications close on 13 October 2023. See here for more information on how to apply.
WasteSorted Recycling Infrastructure Grants
Members were pleased to see a new round of WasteSorted Infrastructure Grants open under the WasteSorted Infrastructure Grants Program. $1 million is available to support investment in recycling and processing infrastructure, with grants of up to $250,000 available for each project for innovative recycling infrastructure projects. Priority will be given to infrastructure projects that support recovery and reprocessing of focus materials prioritised for the 2023-24 funding round.
Applications close 12 noon, Monday 2 October 2023. See here for more information on how to apply.
Trash Talk Newsletter
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The next meeting of the Waste Authority will be held on 4 December 2023.