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WRIQ identifies Queensland’s “carpe diem” opportunity

The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) has released its plan for a thriving, safe, smart, and sustainable sector ahead of the Queensland elections in late October.

According to WRIQ CEO Mark Smith, Queensland is poised to be Australia’s most efficient and effective waste and resource recovery market, dependant on the right market interventions and a collaborative approach between industry and government.

He has proffered WRIQ’s Queensland Election Manifesto 2020, which provides the vision and direction required to capitalise on the sector’s current opportunities and identifies how industry and state and local governments can work together to tackle the sector’s current challenges.

“The waste and resource recovery industry touches every part of the Queensland economy. We are an essential service that continues 24/7 even during the pandemic. Our role if anything has become more vital during the pandemic to support communities and business as the economy adapts and transitions.”

“Our members invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy through wages, machinery, equipment and vehicles and infrastructure. But our members also invest in people with training and skills development,” he said.

Four pillars

The manifesto outlines four pillars to build a safe, smart and sustainable waste and resource recovery sector that will encourage investment, create jobs and provide career pathways for young people to develop skills required for the future workforce.

  • Making Queensland a highly desirable investment destination supported by an effective approach to regulation that is consistent, predictable, and transparent.
  • Sharing responsibility across business and government to build community trust and confidence in Queensland’s waste and recycling network which delivers vital services to all aspects of the economy.
  • A separation of the regulatory role, and industry policy and development roles of the Department of Environment and Science and a call for the government to invest a greater share of state’s landfill levy back into those communities that are housing vital waste and recycling infrastructure.

WRIQ believes that supporting these communities is vital to building trust and value of the sector, which has been eroded in recent years. As well as using these levies to support the industry in training businesses and skills to meet new regulatory requirements and to weed out illegal operators.

  • Focused and targeted work with high waste generating sectors, which would be supported through partnerships with industry associations and peak bodies to work on solutions to their collective waste challenges. This should include state and local government projects that prioritise the use recycled products to help create local demand for secondary resources that will enable Queensland to manage its own waste.

WRIQ also identified the agriculture sector for its positive movement in collecting and processing organics and WRIQ wants to see state government commit to building Australia’s most progressive organics sector. The largest waste stream in municipal waste.

Poised for greatness

The manifesto also acknowledges that Queensland needs greater landfill diversion programs, and these are best delivered by meaningful partnerships with industry.

“The sector is poised for greatness and WRIQ’s ask to the major parties is help us to help you create the most progressive and thriving waste and recycling sector in the country.With the right government interventions and support, we will make Queensland a centre of excellence and expertise which is essential as Queensland will be competing with interstate jurisdictions for capital to build and expand Australia’s waste and resource recovery capabilities on the back of COAG waste export bans,” Smith said.

His optimism continued as he described waste management and resource recovery as a global challenge.

“Wouldn’t it be great to see Queensland and Australia as a leader in global education and training in this growing space particularly in the Asia Pacific region. I want to see Queensland seize the opportunities available to us when life goes back to our new normal.”