On the eve of COAG, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) has called for a national infrastructure plan along with a complementary and transparent funding program. WMRR believes that this will ensure the success of the approaching national waste export bans, and boost Australia’s economy.
WMRR CEO, Gayle Sloan said that, despite governments picking up the pace, a big national piece of the overall waste and resource recovery infrastructure picture was still unclear.
“While WMRR recognises that infrastructure planning and delivery must occur on a state level, what remains absent is the important and necessary role the federal government must play in developing a national infrastructure plan,” she said.
Sloan stressed that this was recognised as a High Priority Initiative by Infrastructure Australia in February 2020 and WMRR has consistently pointed to the value of growing the domestic waste and resource recovery industry.
“When we consider the various global issues today that are causing turmoil in financial markets and global economies, including Australia’s, our sector could provide a much‐needed lifeline by stimulating the economy through local reprocessing and remanufacturing, which in turn means more jobs, and building greater resilience in what is, and has been, a challenging time for Australia.
“With the first of the bans to be rolled out in a little over three months, and knowing that it can take up to five years to develop, build, and commission a resource recovery facility in Australia, WMRR is urgently calling on the federal government to take the opportunity at COAG to commit to developing a national framework. This will guide immediate investment in, and development of, the infrastructure needed to process and remanufacture materials that will be subject to the bans,” Sloan said.
Sloan also noted that while the federal government has committed publicly to a one‐third share of funding infrastructure, she said this must be the funding of all necessary infrastructure under a national strategy, not only what the government considers will be impacted by the export ban.
“The federal government has a clear role to play, along with the states, in ensuring the provision of this essential service to the entire community; it must not check its responsibility at the door of the materials subject to the export bans. The waste and resource recovery industry continues to support the export ban on the basis that it is an opportunity to create genuine Australian markets for all Australian recycled materials,” Sloan concluded.