An opportunity to create a resourceful and net-zero NSW

10 March 2023

As NSW heads to the polls in two weeks’ time, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) is calling on parties to consider how Waste and Resource Recovery (WARR) policy can build a more sustainable NSW, pointing to a seven (7)-point plan that will drive the state’s circular ambitions. 

The sector recognises the many positive initiatives that have been rolled-out in NSW to-date, such as the Container Deposit Scheme and the NSW Plastics Plan, as well as an increasing emphasis on carbon mitigation. However, a number of structural issues remain and without a clear vision and increased collaboration with industry, NSW’s ability to attract investment and achieve its 2030 resource recovery targets is in serious doubt. 

“NSW talks about moving towards a circular economy but all we are doing is going in circles with little meaningful progress, all while our resource recovery rate continues to stagnate,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said. 

“We also have one of the most archaic and unworkable legislative regimes in Australia, which fails to recognise that the industry is key to managing material and keeping it in circulation at its highest and best value for as long as possible, through a strategic and well-planned facility network.

“There are many great examples of resource recovery and product development where the use of secondary raw material is occurring and supported both across Australia and globally. Sadly, in NSW, we have a regulator and a paradigm that appears to prefer maximising revenue from landfill disposal over achieving higher order outcomes,” Ms Sloan said. 

WMRR is calling on a rethink of how WARR policy is delivered by the NSW government so that industry, which provides both an essential service to the community as well as drives sustainability, can continue to contribute to economic growth through job creation and investment. 

With numerous settings in NSW requiring significant attention, WMRR is urging all parties to commit to: 

  1.  A WARR strategic infrastructure strategy;
  2.  A WARR state environment plan;
  3.  Significant re-investment of the levy back into industry;
  4.  Drastically improved regulation and policy settings;
  5.  Sustainable government procurement;
  6.  A NSW disaster waste management plan; and
  7.  A genuine market development (and delivery) agency.

“In the absence of these key initiatives, NSW will continue to remain uncompetitive nationally, and we will miss the opportunity to grow our sector and create local jobs in NSW,” Ms Sloan said. 

“As the peak body that represents the breadth and depth of the essential WARR sector, WMRR stands ready to collaborate and engage with the future government to address these areas so that we can move towards a more sustainable and brighter future for NSW.”