At its state conference last week, the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) announced plans to develop a comprehensive insurance package.
Responding to members’ concerns around staggering increases to insurance premiums and navigating an increasingly complex and changing regulatory environment, VWMA has begun work on a package of support.
The association said in a statement that experts across a range of disciplines including regulation, social research, insurance, and communications and marketing have endorsed an approach led by associations and speak to the benefits in tackling these challenges as a collective, which is one of the ways industry associations can provide greatest benefit to its members.
VWMA said through its resources, a bold and clear path forward can be forged for how the waste and resource recovery industry, and increasingly the circular economy sector, can tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The association noted that currently, the sector is reacting to the changing regulatory environment around fire risk and management, however it proposes to build capacity and capability across the sector so that collectively, these risks can be managed together. It will be an approach that is about translating the complicated regulatory environment to “what does this mean for my business or my site”.
“We do have a path forward on how we can tackle these problems. The role of the association over the coming months will be to socialise and build support for the package and we are keen to hear from anyone who wants to add value to this discussion,” VWMA executive officer Mark Smith, said.
“The VWMA has been engaged with other state associations and the NWRIC around this package and has received support for what we’ve proposed. If successful, the package is something that could be rolled out nationally, benefiting waste and recycling operators in other states.”
The package will include four core components:
1. Training, tools and resources: focused on building the capability and capacity of VWMA members to identify and manage risks at their sites. It will include fit-for-purpose approaches based on the size, material types or other considerations specific to a site.
2. Information, webinars and access to experts: provide information, workshops and webinars on topics and issues of relevance or emerging threats/challenges to the sector.
3. Legal packages: ongoing support around legal compliance to help navigate an increasingly complicated regulatory environment.
4. Communication and engagement package: engagement with stakeholders outside the sector about what is being done to tackle issues around stockpiling and fire management including engagement with insurance companies, landlords, industrial parks.
“Perceptions are that we don’t manage stockpiles effectively, which we don’t believe is true. These are complicated problems and many stakeholders (outside our sector) have a role to play, including landlords, councils and insurance companies. We need talk and work with others to change perceptions of our sector,” Smith said.
“This package is going to meaningfully start those conversations. We are optimistic the government sees value in industry-led approaches to tackling these challenges. It’s about a shared responsibility and we’ll take this formally through relevant government agencies.