The WMAA Board met on the sidelines of the WasteSA 2018 Conference in Adelaide, a fantastic event that attracted more than 200 delegates over 14 and 15 November. South Australian Environment Minister David Speirs opened the conference, including announcing that the State will review its Container Deposit Legislation over the coming months. With other Australian states finally catching up to what the South Australians have been doing for more than 40 years, perhaps SA is getting ready to set a new bar (pun intended) by including wine and spirit bottles, which would certainly help to reduce public confusion about what’s in and what’s out of the new schemes now running or planned for in NSW, the ACT, QLD and WA.
We are proud to announce the Association has resolved to start the process of formally changing our name to the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia, which will be branded as WMRR from 1 January 2019. The resolution from a Special General Meeting held in Adelaide follows strong support from the membership for the evolution of the brand to better represent the focus of our sector, while retaining strong connection to the respected brand that WMAA has developed over many years.
In keeping with the theme of evolving to meet the needs of our diverse and growing member list, the Board has resolved to establish a new Resource Recovery and Market Development Working Group. This is in response to the increasing participation of stakeholders ‘upstream’ of the traditional ‘waste and recycling’ sector. A theme of WasteSA was the need for collaboration to maximise the opportunities our sector faces; the intention of the new Working Group is to provide a forum for users and producers of secondary resources to come together and develop the connections and projects that will expedite the injection of recovered resources into the circular economy.
The Board has nominated SA-based Mark Rawson, principal consultant and founder of Rawtec, to lead the formation of this exciting new working group, and WMRR is now inviting expressions of interest from members who are keen to get involved. Ideally, we would like to see a similar approach to other Working Groups, with state-based groups that are across the specific details of their own jurisdictions, feeding up to a national group that helps to disseminate knowledge across the broader sector. Further details about the objectives of the Resource Recovery and Market Development Working Group can be found here , and details of how to get involved can be obtained here .
The Board also discussed resourcing of the National Office and supported the CEO’s plan to commence a recruitment process to attract a Training and Development Manager who will have carriage of the Accreditation program the Board previously resolved to progress. We feel this is an area where WMRR can add significant additional value to the membership, by helping to develop and recognise the professional skills required in our modern sector. While we are taking the time required to ensure this aspect is well thought out, the Board remains strongly committed to the success of this training initiative.
The recent Member Survey showed more than three quarters of members feel they are getting very good value from being a member of the Association, with many comments recognising how hard the team has been working to represent the interests of the sector, and especially how successful the Association has been at reaching external stakeholders, from the general public to various elected officials. The Board has decided that despite the increasing value proposition offered by the Association, and the additional resources required to ‘keep up’ with our growing role, the 2019 membership fees will only be adjusted in line with CPI. We are hopeful that with an increasing number of organisations and individuals seeing the value of what we do, we will continue to attract new members, and continue to see strong turn outs to the various events that help raise funds to support the work of the Association.
The new-look WMRR is in a healthy financial position and on track to deliver a balanced budget for 2018. This is due to the support from our members through membership fees and attendance at various functions and events, but importantly also through the time and skills that so many of our members contribute for the benefit of the sector and the association. We would especially like to thank the Steering Committee for the WasteSA Conference, who volunteered their time and experience to help bring together a great event for all participants. The strength of our Association has always been, and will always be, the ability to tap into the knowledge and passion of people working right across our vibrant sector.
The next Board meeting will be held in Melbourne in December, coinciding with the Victorian end-of-year celebration dinner on 12 December. We hope to see a really strong turn out from members at all of the end of year events planned for 2018 (starting with NSW Branch’s inaugural Gala Dinner and Inside Waste Awards on Thursday, 22 November). Details including registration of these events can be found here.
It’s been a massive year for the Association and for our members. We all know there is plenty more to do in 2019 but first, let’s try to come together to reflect on the year that’s been, to network with colleagues, and to meet new people. And of course, to support WMRR!