Queensland government launches practical energy from waste policy  

10 June 2020

The Queensland government released its highly anticipated Energy from Waste (EfW) policy at the Waste Management and Resource Recovery of Association of Australia’s (WMRR) ‘Lunch with the Queensland Environment Minister’ webinar last week.

The Minister, the Hon. Leeanne Enoch MP, who also gave a candid update of the current state of play in Queensland, noted that the policy aligns with both the waste management hierarchy as well as Queensland’s strategic priorities, and provides industry with certainty on how EfW will be regulated and assessed in the state.

The policy, which can be found here, provides clarity on how EfW can play a key role within the waste and resource recovery system, capturing embodied energy from residual materials that would otherwise have been landfilled, as Queensland transitions towards a circular economy.

As well as establishing an EfW hierarchy to address the differing technologies available, the policy outlines seven (7) outcomes to guide proponents on how environmental authority applications for EfW facilities will be assessed and regulated, detailing requirements that will need to be met to demonstrate operational performance of proposed facilities.

“Queensland’s EfW policy is a very sensible and well considered document that draws on international best practice, resisting the temptation that we have seen in other Australian jurisdictions to create poorly thought out interventions that impact confidence and investment. The release of the document is a positive step towards offering EfW proponents some much-needed certainty, offering clear pathways to EfW, and importantly, a clear expectation about community engagement and social license. All these steps are pivotal in rebuilding the economy and creating local jobs in the post-COVID world that we are building,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

“WMRR appreciates DES’ strong engagement with the industry in the establishment of this policy and we look forward to the development of further detail on how industry can meet EfW requirements in Queensland, utilising what we know is international best practice, including the EU Waste Directives.”

During the webinar, the minister also reassured attendees that resource recovery is at the forefront of many of the government’s decisions, acknowledging that the essential waste and resource recovery sector is a vital stakeholder and contributor to Queensland’s post-COVID economic recovery, particularly as the industry will be able to provide home grown manufacturing opportunities.