The NSW Waste Advisory Group, comprising a range of industry stakeholders held its inaugural meeting with NSW EPA CEO, Tracy Mackey on Friday, September 25.
An EPA communique advised that members of this Group have been called upon to provide advice on environmental policy, legislative and regulatory reforms as well as evidence to drive continuous improvement in waste and resource recovery.
Group members welcomed the formation of the group whose purpose is to:
1. Contribute to environmental policy, legislative and regulatory reforms.
2. Advise on the implementation of these reforms, including early identification and troubleshooting of systemic or collective challenges.
3. Engage with the best evidence of the day to drive continuous improvement to waste and resource recovery.
4. Drive a circular economy for waste in NSW.
Membership of the Group will be reviewed every 12 months to ensure equity of representation and members also endorsed their Terms of Reference at the meeting.
20 Year Waste Strategy
The key agenda item was the NSW Government’s 20-Year Waste Strategy. Members contributed their advice in response to the current thinking about the focus and approach that the strategy could take and provided a clear message that the strategy needs to be reframed as a ‘materials strategy’ to drive a circular economy for waste in NSW.
Industry peak bodies and representatives raised the importance of certainty for the waste sector in response to the export ban.
Future funding, end of Waste Less, Recycle
The Group also discussed future funding for initiatives that come under Waste Less, Recycle More. The EPA said that it recognised the experience and significant contribution of waste groups in the delivery of waste and resource recovery projects and programs across NSW. It noted that the development of the NSW 20-Year Waste Strategy included the exploration of the resources that will be required to support the Strategy’s implementation, including direction on new programs and opportunities.
The EPA provided advice to members about the work being done with industry to respond to the Grafil case (former Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie’s family company and his son Robert were found guilty of running an unlawful waste dump). It also advised that an ‘unexpected finds’ process is being developed with industry. The EPA stated that it will continue to take a risk-based approach to regulating waste from the construction and demolition sector in relation to the detection and disposal of asbestos.