Dear Minister: NSW needs help now

Industry advocate, MRA Consulting managing director Mike Ritchie, has called on NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean (pictured) to act soon to give the state strategic clarity on waste reform. “Firstly, the NSW government is to be congratulated for leading the country in reforming waste economics, particularly with respect to the historical increases in the s.88 …
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20 Year Waste Strategy takes shape within uncertain times

Despite the constraints of COVID-19, more than 10,000 residents of New South Wales along with Australia’s leading resource recovery bodies and councils have made submissions to the NSW 20 Year Waste Strategy. The significance of this strategy has become even more imperative as the use of plastics increases during lockdown and the July export ban …
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Good News: NSW to fast track planning approvals

In a bid to combat the economic downturn brought about by COVID-19,  NSW Minister for Planning and Public spaces, Rob Stokes, has revealed the government’s Planning System Acceleration Program. The program aims to fast-track planning processes in order to stimulate the construction industry and minimise jobs loss. These will drive faster approvals for State Significant …
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NSW government releases COVID-19 guidance for waste and recycling industry

The NSW government has advised the waste and recycling industry and councils that it will continue to work closely with them to ensure critical waste services continue. It has also issued a set of guidelines for staying healthy and safe during COVID-19. In a joint statement, the government and the EPA said that although the …
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EPA acts to make polluters pay for their clean-up costs

Submissions and comments are being sought by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on proposed measures to ensure that those organisations responsible for pollution or contamination pay the clean-up costs. EPA Executive Director Regulatory Practice, Nancy Chang said the NSW EPA operated under a polluter pays principle. However, she said that when the polluter couldn’t …
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Industry leader gives shout out to essential contractors

On the day that Google honoured all cleaning workers globally on its  Google Doodles, the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) executive director Tony Khoury, has praised the association’s members who are waste collection contractors.  Khoury described them as both resourceful and operational, saying that this will ensure that the essential work is still performed.

“The issues surrounding COVID-19 have had a major impact across the community. In these tough and uncertain times, the workers and contractors that collect waste and recyclables continue to perform their work albeit in difficult circumstances,” he said.

According to Khoury, the feedback from WCRA’s Members, is that many commercial waste accounts are either on hold, requesting a reduced service or are looking to cancel.

He noted that some members have also highlighted the difficulties associated with having staff work from home.

“Like many businesses at the moment, IT systems are struggling to cope and the problems that were previously solved with a simple office chat and a cup of coffee, are just a little more difficult to resolve,” he said.

Government assistance welcomed

However, he welcomed the initiative by the Federal Government to increase the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 until 30 June 2020.

“Any waste and recycling contractor that requires a piece of equipment and is in a position to bring forward a purchase decision can do so and obtain instant tax relief,” he added.

 

Government creates a department for regional NSW

A new Department of Regional NSW has been established to better coordinate support for communities, businesses and farmers in the bush that have endured drought, bushfire and flood and now face the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, said that the department will bring together Primary Industries, Local Land Services, Resources and Geoscience and regional coordination across government to form a central agency dedicated to regional issues.

It will be led by incoming Secretary Gary Barnes, currently the Coordinator General, Regional NSW, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Response to regional needs

Barilaro said that the government was urgently responding to the desperate needs of people in the regions and this new agency would work to ensure community wellbeing, resilient economies and strong key regional industries.

“We know that the issues faced by the people of Cootamundra are very different to those faced in Coogee and so it is imperative we have a government designed to properly support every corner of this State,” he explained.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made a big impact on what has already been a devastating start to 2020, as farmers continue to suffer through the worst drought in recorded history and towns torn apart by bushfires continue to feel the effects months on.

“The new Department of Regional NSW will be a voice in government for people in the bush and will have a laser-like focus on the challenges and opportunities unique to regional communities, helping them to get through hardships many of us have not seen in our time.

“This department will allow a more streamlined response to regional issues as experts in areas such as primary industries, land management, resources, regional development, drought response and bushfire recovery work closer together than ever before.”

According to Barilaro, the department will drive the delivery of recent bushfire and COVID-19 stimulus and industry recovery packages along with the NSW Government’s drought initiatives, $1.7 billion Regional Growth Fund and $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.

“I said that regional communities would get their fair share and to date, we have fulfilled that commitment, from securing billions in funding to the urgent measures we have rolled out for farmers, business owners and families,” Barilaro added.

The Department of Regional NSW will be led by incoming Secretary Gary Barnes, currently the Coordinator General, Regional NSW, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.