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Clarity in NSW EfW plans but too late for some

WMRR has acknowledged that the NSW government, through its Energy from Waste (EfW) infrastructure plan, has provided clarity to the market as to where it sees a place for EfW in an integrated waste and resource recovery (WARR) system in NSW.

Among the changes in the plan is the condition that EfW will only be permitted in four regional NSW precincts – West Lithgow, Parkes, Richmond Valley, and Southern Goulburn; industry believes it is a pity these rules were not announced before a number of proponents spent money, time, and resources developing proposals outside of these areas.

“The EfW infrastructure plan comes some seven  years after the NSW EPA released its EfW policy, which already stipulates stringent conditions for the development of facilities in NSW, including additional requirements proposed in April 2021,” WMRR CEO, Gayle Sloan, said.

Read more: Citywide enters MoU for Maryvale EfW project

“Industry has been engaging with the NSW EPA to ensure that in planning and developing EfW facilities, proponents meet all objectives, including and importantly, the protection of human and environmental health, as well as policy conditions. There are already several EfW facilities in the pipeline, all at different stages of the development journey across NSW, including but not limited to Western Sydney. These project proponents have invested millions of dollars as well as substantial work over many years given the well-known lengthy development approval process in NSW, only to be told that their projects are now a no-go.

“This announcement doesn’t just impact project proponents, it means future jobs supporting these projects throughout NSW have now been lost, along with the significant current and future investment in the NSW economy. It is vital that our industry has policy certainty and stability to invest in NSW to create local jobs and reduce reliance on virgin material.

“As we have said before and will say this again, this constant shifting of goal posts means NSW will haemorrhage investment to the neighbouring states. It is simply impossible to invest in NSW when the only known factor is continued regulatory and policy uncertainty.

“We simply hope that now that the government has made this decision, it will work with industry and proponents to develop pathways to deliver these facilities, given the extraordinarily lengthy approval processes that WARR facilities experience in NSW.”