New chair for NSW environmental watchdog

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) senior executive Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM  has taken over as Chair of the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) commencing her role yesterday.

Environment Minister Matt Kean described de Gruchy is a highly experienced regulator and will play a key role  in ensuring that the EPA is a world-class regulator that holds dodgy individuals and organisations to account.

“Now more than ever it is important that we have a tough, independent environmental cop on the beat –ensuring our environment and communities are protected from potentially harmful and hazardous activities,” Kean said.

“The people of NSW expect our environment to be protected, so our children and their children can enjoy  our natural environmental assets for generations to come. De Gruchy has come from the ACCC where she led the charge protecting consumers and fearlessly prosecuting people that broke the law – I expect her to take the same approach as Chair of the EPA.”

Meanwhile, De Gruchy said she was excited to be taking on the role.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to the important work of the EPA and working with businesses, government and the community to reduce pollution and waste, protect human health, and prevent degradation of the spectacular natural environment in NSW,” she said.

Kean thanked acting Chair Carolyn Walsh for her leadership and guidance over the past 14 months.

“Carolyn has been steadfast in her commitment to drive improved environmental outcomes and hold rogue  operators to account, and I thank her for her exceptional stewardship and support of the EPA team throughout the challenges of the summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic,” Kean added.

NSW sector has decent operators

The executive director of the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WRCA) Tony Khoury told Inside Waste that he also extends a very warm welcome to de Gruchy in her new role.

However he noted that the vast majority of the NSW WARR sector is made up of decent, well-run business operators.

“Our Members have often stated the view that NSW needs a strong and fair environmental regulator and a well-thought out 20 year waste strategy. This will provide industry with the confidence to invest in sustainable waste management solutions.

“Minister Kean refers to ‘dodgy individuals and organisations’ in the waste sector. However, if the EPA is to be a true ‘world-class regulator’ and we are to achieve our resource recovery goals, then the EPA and the NSW Government needs to have an action plan for disrupting unlawful business models, without there being unintended impacts for legitimate operators.

“We look forward to working with the new Chair and the staff of the EPA to progress these issues,” he said.

MPS and Evoquip strengthen

Mineral Processing Solutions (MPS) is now the official full line distributor of EvoQuip crushing, screening and conveying equipment.

In 2016 (MPS) an OPS Group Company, became a distributor in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia for EvoQuip. Now, after four years of strong market development, both parties said that they were keen to extend the coverage.

“Since taking on EvoQuip in 2016, MPS has shown a commitment to service and support that is in keeping with the brand. Their extensive knowledge and trained specialists ensure they offer the best solutions and product support which is why they are the right fit for EvoQuip in Australia,” EvoQuip international sales director, Barry O’Hare said.

National reach

The MPS team includes encompasses process engineering to on-site commissioning, training and maintenance services and the company provides 24/7 maintenance and spare parts backup both on-site and from their workshops in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Darwin.

MPS managing director, Shane Czerkasow added, “After four years working with EvoQuip we have developed extensive relevant industry knowledge and built a strong customer base. We look forward to taking this experience and developing our customer base right across Australia. The EvoQuip product is exciting and dynamic and is a great fit for MPS.”

Plastics recycling roundtable to deliver roadmap

An initial Plastics Recycling Roundtable meeting took place last month, co-hosted by and the Australia Council of Recycling’s CEO Pete Schmigel.

Twenty-seven representatives from nineteen different organisations involved in the plastic supply chain and lifecycle and Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction Trevor Evans recently convened a Plastics Recycling Roundtable.

The Australia Council of Recycling (ACOR) and Evans co-hosted the event which set out its considering the future community and policy challenges and opportunities in plastics recycling. Evans discussed what the Morrison Government saw as the opportunities of the COAG ban, the Recycling Modernisation Fund, product stewardship, procurement and plastics-related packaging targets.

According to ACOR CEO Pete Schmigel, “a vibrant discussion followed about the fragmented nature of the plastics recycling, current conditions and realities of plastics recycling, and the APCO plastics recycling targets. It moved to preliminarily identify additional measures – both operational and policy-based – that could have merit in meeting recovery and recycling targets.”

Agreement was reached to produce a Plastics Recycling Results Roadmap. Some of the identified key outcomes of this roadmap include:

  • Identify as a group the key practical and policy requirements for meeting the 70% plastics recycling target;
  • Explore market demand and policy options for creating it through the Commonwealth’s upcoming national plastics plan including tax incentives, public procurement requirements, minimum recycled content quotas, infrastructure requirements, improved APCO monitoring, product specifications, and definitions/implementation of COAG ban;
  • Provide an industry plan for consumer and corporate engagement and education on plastics recycling and recovery.

Participants committed to continue to interact as a Plastics Recycling Roundtable under ACOR’s auspices for the next six months and convene regularly with the Minister.

ACOR has invited the non-ACOR members of the Plastics Recycling Roundtable to be part of the process on a no-fee basis for six months.

This will give them access to ACOR specialised knowledge and discussion papers, as well as a seat at the roundtable. In developing the Roadmap, ACOR will also undertake consultation with other stakeholder organisations, such as APCO and its mooted Plastics Pact, to ensure alignment, including with the provisions of the National Waste Policy Action Plan. ACOR looks forward to continuing this important work with our esteemed colleagues and Assistant Minister Trevor Evans.