Board communiqué – 22 August 2023
The Board met virtually on 22 August 2023 for their fourth meeting of the year and noted the policy and regulatory space across Australia is going through a very busy period. This highlights the importance of the role the Association must play in shaping those discussions and outcomes as the key advocate for the WARR industry.
One of our wins has been the Federal Government’s draft paper and cardboard exports rules, currently out for consultation, which propose a five (5) percent contamination level. The Board agreed that while it may not be the level everyone would like, it was a balanced outcome and far better than the two (2) percent originally proposed. It was noted there remain ongoing concerns about the 1 July 2024 implementation date and whether that would be achievable, especially given the lengthy delays in licence approvals and the time required for infrastructure development.
The Board was updated on recommendations from the Risk and Audit Committee. The Committee developed and the Board approved at this meeting a facility tour disclosure form for WMRR working group organised site tours. The feedback from these tours is very positive and they are very much welcomed by our members. The Committee viewed this agreement as vital for member safety which is the Association’s number one priority, and an appropriate risk management and compliance tool for those undertaking these tours. The Form will be circulated to working group chairs for events in 2023.
There was also a discussion about the need for a wholesale move on extended producer responsibility rather than governments continuing to tinker at the edges, which won’t deliver the seismic shift required for Australia to meet its goal of a circular economy by 2030. The recent media discussion on food and textile waste – prompted by the ABC’s War on Waste program and WMRR highlighting National Thrift Shop Day – was welcomed by the Board and it is hoped this will prompt real government action.
The Board also expressed concern and hopes the government will move more quickly on addressing the prevalence of persistent organic pollutants (POPS) – not just PFAS, but all POPS, which occur in a range of consumables from cardboard food packaging through to cosmetics. It was agreed the Association would continue to push for greater awareness, regulations and labelling conventions as seen in Europe, noting that this will also remain a legacy issue which the WARR sector will be left to deal with for decades.
Strong engagement with members was also discussed with continued growth in member numbers along with strong attendance and positive feedback for WMRR events, especially the webinar series, which were noted as topical, relevant and delivering a strong international perspective. Several recent events had to be expanded to meet demand by members to attend and it is one of those pleasurable problems the Association is dealing with.
This in turn is reflecting on the financial position of the Association with the balance sheet looking good and the executive team looking at how this can best be reinvested back into supplying services to our members.
To keep up to date with events and webinars please regularly check the events page and our rolling calendar, as in addition to the EfW Conference, we have a number of other face to face events coming up in NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia - hope to see you there!