The WARR industry was one of the first to pivot to digital communications when disrupted by COVID-19 and they weren’t alone. A recent study shows that 97 per cent of decision makers believe COVID-19 accelerated their company’s digital transformation efforts.
As part of a broader plan to reduce the increasing amount of rubbish ending up in New Zealand’s landfills, the government is investing NZ$124($116m) to fund a new recycling infrastructure and expand the national waste levy scheme.
The development of new national environmental standards, streamlining of approval processes with the States along with national engagement on Indigenous cultural heritage are to be prioritised by the Federal government.
A previously unimagineable amount of $2 billion has been pledged by the federal government for the now one million Australian unemployed and school-leavers to learn new skills.
$500 million will go to a ‘JobTrainer’ scheme to run new courses for hundreds of thousands of workers so they have the skills that will be in demand when a recovery comes.
The remaining $1.5 billion will go to further wage subsidies for apprentices including this year’s school-leavers. The $500 million component will go towards courses that meet the needs identified by the National Skills Commission, in consultation with the states and territories and in the hope they will match the funding.
The courses are expected to be in fields such as health, retail, social assistance, transport, manufacturing and warehousing.
The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read, told Inside Waste that there were always available jobs for women and men as forklift drivers.
“Our members find those roles challenging to fill and now as the industry is growing there are also roles at local processing facilities,” she said.
Read added that auditing jobs in environmental health and safety and customer service were other areas were school and university leavers could up-skill and apply.
Funding will assist long-term
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA director operations, Tara Diamond said the government investment in 100,000 extra apprentices would assist in arresting the sliding number of apprentices and trainees, but longer-term will help more Australians access diverse, highly-paid and rewarding careers within the resources and energy industry.
However, she cautioned that for the funding to deliver long-term positive outcomes for both employees and employers, it must be targeted to address key areas of skills demand and shortages.
“Understanding and pinpointing the areas of current and future workforce demand must be a priority for the government’s new skills package. Employers want to know specifically how the type of training is determined and what modelling will be used to identify the skills most in demand.”
An AMMA Workforce Modelling report, released a few months prior to COVID-19, estimated that new resources and energy projects would create around 21,000 new long-term jobs in the resources and energy industry by 2024. While the economic environment has changed markedly, Ms Diamond said this modelling provides strong insight into what occupations in the resources and energy sector will become in demand.
“The pre-COVID workforce modelling showed likely demand for 8,660 mining equipment operators, 2,847 heavy diesel fitters and 970 other tradespeople across electrical, mechanical and maintenance trades,” she said.
“This is just operating roles in the mining industry over the next four years. Factoring in construction trades required to build new resources and major public infrastructure projects, and the demands will be far greater.
“More trainees and apprentices with the right skills in the right areas, will be critical for our nation’s economic recovery.
“Additionally, this focus on apprenticeships cannot afford to leave females behind. As we know the majority of trade apprenticeships are males – we must equally encourage both males and females to be skilled and up-skilled in trades.”
Queensland has followed South Australia in putting a proposal before parliament to ban single-use plastic items.
Australian Tyre Processors (ATP) has match funded a grant from Queensland Resource Recovery Industry Development Program (RRIDP) resulting in $1.6m invested into the company’s new tyre processing plant.
Households are wasting less food in the COVID-19 shutdown and these good habits are set to continue, according to a new study Love Food Hate Waste by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The momentum of investment into the WARR industry continues to grow with a partnership between the Federal and ACT Governments to provide $21 million from the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) to the ACT MRF. The project will improve separation and process recycling streams such as paper, glass and plastic.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley and ACT Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel said the partnership will create a higher quality recycled product that adds value and reduces the amount of waste ending up in landfill.
The upgraded facility will have the capacity to improve the quality and marketability of 23,000 tonnes of paper and mixed cardboard, 1,800 tonnes of mixed plastics and 14,000 tonnes of glass from the ACT and five regional NSW councils annually.
The upgrades to the facility will include:
- optical scanning equipment to identify and separate different types of plastics
- Better screening technology to reduce contamination in paper and cardboard recycling
- glass washing facilities to provide better quality crushed glass ‘sand’ products that can be used in a wider range of products
- plastic washing and ‘flaking’ facilities—the flaking process breaks the washed plastic into small pieces, providing a clean product ready for local markets.
Work is expected to begin later this year with the upgrades conducted in stages and completion largely achieved in 2021–22.
“Today’s announcement will also see the creation of around 100 direct and indirect jobs for the ACT and surrounding regions, which will deliver an economic lifeline to local economies,” Ley said.
Steel added that Governments were stepping up to take responsibility for waste and its impact on the environment, with investment in the latest technology to generate cleaner recycling in the ACT and the Canberra Region.
“When Canberrans put material in their yellow bin they should trust that is sorted and processed locally so that It has as much value as possible for re-use and remanufacturing,” he said.
“These upgrades to our MRF will deliver better separation of recycling streams such as paper, glass and plastic, reducing contamination rates and providing better quality recycled material.”
“This is the local waste processing infrastructure that our region needs to be ready for the waste export ban, and so that we can effectively eliminate mixed plastics as a waste stream in the ACT.”
Like many operators in the WARR industry, Local Government NSW has welcomed the news of the federal government $190 million Recycling Monestisation Fund the but says a number of questions remain unanswered.
The Western Australian Waste Authority has considered and approved revised position statements on the Waste Hierarchy and Waste to Energy after they were first released in 2013. The statements includes both thermal and non-thermal treatment.