The Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) has increased its services to members via a weekly online newsletter which launched yesterday, March 25.
The decision comes amidst the significant challenges posed by COVID-19 to the waste and resource recovery industry. WMRR CEO, Gayle Sloan has advised members that it is imperative that all stakeholders work together across industry and supply chains to continue to provide a continuation of services.
“Now more than ever, we must remain connected, work together, and share knowledge that will both sustain and support our industry and its people,” she said
The newsletter aims to provide the industry with a weekly repository of information, including current and potential solutions to meet the new and ongoing challenges we face, regulatory and policy changes, government advice, and more.
WMRR will also establish a regular LinkedIn forum on WMRR’s LinkedIn page where all are welcome to share their insights and solutions.
Meanwhile, WMRR has asked members to provide an on-the-ground update of the services that have been impacted and the challenges they are currently facing within this survey.
WMRR said that it will keep all individual responses confidential and will summarise and provide an analysis of the information provided.
“In these challenging and uncertain times, it is vital that we bolster one another and work hand-in-hand to find pathways that will allow us to continue to operate effectively and sustainably, and to protect our environment and communities,” Sloan said.
In the meantime, she explained that WMRR has been talking with governments at all levels and raising the need for the following:
1. Recognition that waste and resource recovery is an essential service and all steps are being taken to maintain services, being clear that the definitions encompass the logistics and processing of garbage/recycling/solid liquid/medical, etc. across all sectors. We would also incorporate container deposit schemes in this, given that keeping collection points open provides a cash flow to the public.
2. Prioritise industry access to PPE, cleaning products, and fuel along with other essential services.
3. Review the hours of operation to ensure a relaxation of collection periods or increases in opening hours of disposal facilities, which will allow a broader timeframe for collection and offer greater solutions to businesses’ continuity plans, such as storage facilities paid for by government and even being the buyer of last resort.
4. Consistent national communication and approach about all aspects, including industrial conditions and entitlements, working together, treatment and management of industry, and management of possibly infected wastes.
5. Immediate business financial relief; this will be in terms of cash injections, debt guarantees, waiver of levies and taxes that are applicable to the WARR industry (both state and federal) as well as including industry (at all levels) in the class of businesses that banks are prepared to provide a six-month hold on loan repayments.
6. Capital funding fast tracked for the planning and approval of WARR and remanufacturing infrastructure required to address the COAG waste export ban and also beyond that, given the national target of 80% diversion by 2030.
“COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has impacted every facet of society and while industries, including our essential waste and resource recovery sector, grapple with the changes and challenges that have unfolded, and will continue to unfold, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) will be doing its very best to be on-hand to provide updates on key and appropriate advice, changes, and more,” Sloan added.