The Board met on 3 May 2023 and discussed recent meetings with federal and state ministers’ and their offices, including the Commonwealth, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Government attention remains firmly focused on the vital role we play in the community and economy.
WMRR has been busy at the federal level working with DCCEEW, industry and the Minister on a number of issues, including a time bound exemption from the current plastic’s export restrictions, specifically for ‘MRF grade’ and coloured PET. Given the current lack of onshore demand and remanufacturing infrastructure capacity. The reality is that at present, the export framework for approvals and exemptions fails to meet the needs of the sector given material keeps being collected and approvals for licences and variations are extremely slow. We simply do not have the onshore remanufacturing facilities required as yet. Although a significant amount is coming this is just not quick enough and in the absence of mandated requirement to buy back Australian product, it will continue to be a challenge to match material collected with material processed in Australia. The Board also heard about paper and cardboard export restrictions and anticipates draft rules for public consultation in the next month.
With the ongoing challenge of fires in WARR facilities, and the Australian Government’s intention to develop a regulatory product stewardship scheme for solar panels and household electronics, there was significant Board discussion about the need to have certainty over collection pathways for batteries and e-cigarettes, given the ongoing incidence of fires in WARR facilities. There is need for the battery stewardship scheme and/ or the e-waste scheme to urgently address and communicate pathways for collection nationally (including for battery powered products) to mitigate this risk. The community are still missing the battery disposal message. WMRR has been meeting with state regulators and the stewardship scheme to address this.
The Board was also provided an update on 2023 membership renewals, noting that benefits for 2022 members ceased in April. The Board was pleased to see a sustained year-on-year increase in membership numbers, which was evident at the recent South Australian WARR Leadership breakfast, which saw new faces mixing with regulars. If you have not renewed, please contact James in the National Office on [email protected]. Members receive a host of valuable and exclusive benefits, including discounts to events, participation in our state-based working groups and access to member-only WMRR resources.
Throughout 2022 WMRR with input from members and the Board, developed a three (3) year strategic business plan and six (6) months after the launch the Board reviewed progress against key national and state initiatives. There have been significant steps forward/ progress by governments in this timeframe. The Board through the state branches will review these initiatives and ensure that these remain relevant and achievable both in context of the regulatory environment and industry requirements.
The next Board meeting will coincide with the Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Melbourne on 20 June 2023. The AGM is a free event for members and includes the release of WMRR’s 2022 Annual Report and an opportunity to network. Registrations for the AGM will open shortly. Hope to see you there!
To keep up to date with events and webinars please regularly check the events page and our rolling calendar.