The October meeting of WMRR’s National Board took place in Toowoomba, on the sidelines of the WasteQ conference. The key discussion was around the upcoming Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM) in November, and how WMRR could best support our political leaders to adopt rationale and helpful reforms through this forum.
In the lead up to MEM, WMRR commissioned research to help better identify how the specific materials discussed in the COAG bans could be redirected to onshore markets. What actually needs to happen for the export bans to be a positive step that supports our local circular economy, and not have the serious negative impact of forcing material for which there may be legitimate global demand to be landfilled or stockpiled in Australia? What level of quality or value add needs to take place for a material to no longer be a waste covered by export bans, because it is now a product ready for global markets?
MEM has now come and gone, and while that meeting didn’t immediately action every item we hoped it might, we do need to acknowledge that Ministers listened to the advice of WMRR (and others) regarding the need for export bans to be phased in and supported by stronger efforts to build local capacity. The devil will be in the detail of what comes together in coming months, but thankfully Ministers acknowledged these are not simple challenges, and that getting the right response will take time and effort on behalf of all stakeholders.
Another discussion for the Board was around relocation of the National Office, to a location (and a building) which can better support the needs of members, including providing a space for various meetings. The Board agreed that the current office no longer meets the needs of the Association and delegated to the CEO to identify a suitable new location… the outcome will be announced early next year, and we believe it will help to increase the accessibility of the WMRR office to the membership.
The association remains in a healthy financial position, thanks to the support of members. We have had great attendance at all WMRR events so far in 2019, which helps to generate the funds that support the ongoing activities of the association. Thank you again to everyone who contributes financially, as well as through the provision of skills and experience to help ensure WMRR has the depth of understanding required to properly represent the sector in these dynamic times.
Membership fees were reviewed, and while the Board believes WMRR is now delivering a lot more value for members than ever before (both in terms of external representation, and in terms of at least one free event in each state), the Board approved for membership fees in 2020 to be increased in line with CPI only.