New South Wales councils and the alternative waste treatment (AWT) industry are now able to apply for NSW Government funding to improve kerbside waste recycling.
New South Wales councils are seeing extraordinary increases in kerbside clean-up bookings while members of the public are being asked to report illegal dumping in their communities.
Randwick Council’s website ‘Our Beach Pollution Ends Here’, which encourages residents to ‘adopt’ a drain in a bid to raise awareness and reduce stormwater pollution of Sydney’s beaches, has been nominated for a Webby Award, one of internet’s most prestigious awards.
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.
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.