Monday, 08 July 2019 15:13

Wasting time: NSW's planning crisis

Landfill Landfill

Media release,  8 July 2019

The news that the NSW Government is falling short on its waste responsibilities[1] comes as no surprise to Western Sydney councils who are faced with unprecedented regional growth and increasingly strained waste management infrastructure.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) welcomes the NSW Government’s move to develop a 20-year waste strategy, noting state action on waste is well overdue.

WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert said “Waste collection may be delivered locally, but waste processing, distribution and commodity markets are determined at the state, national and international levels.

“Councils cannot do this alone. The current crisis facing the waste sector is placing unprecedented strain on council resources, as they strive to adapt to international commodity markets.

“WSROC welcomes the Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean’s assessment of waste as an ‘essential public service’[1]. The failure to classify waste as critical infrastructure - of equal importance to water, energy and transport - has delayed crucial action, to this point,” he said.

“As a result, NSW and Australia have not adequately planned for waste and recycling and have become over-reliant on international waste processing – an option which is no longer viable.

“By 2021, Sydney will experience a 1.4 million tonne shortfall in waste processing capacity due to population growth and the China recycling ban. To meet that shortfall, we will need to build around 16 new waste facilities.

“The NSW Government has an important role to play in strategic planning for waste infrastructure, guiding industry, supporting local governments and enlisting federal government support. All levels of government must be involved in generating a long-term strategic plan for local, sustainable waste management.

“The NSW Government’s 20-year plan must address key points.

“Firstly, WSROC urges the NSW Government to reinvest a greater portion of the waste levy funds paid by councils in planning and building waste infrastructure, as well as supporting new recycling markets and technologies.

“Of the $255 million waste levy funds collected by the NSW Government from Greater Western Sydney councils in the last five years, a paltry $20 million (8 percent) has been returned.[2] This is an unjustifiable shortfall and it must be addressed,” Clr Calvert stated.

“Secondly, the plan must include urgent action in identifying and preserving suitable land for locations of waste infrastructure.

“Land for new waste infrastructure is scarce and rapidly declining in the Sydney basin. To achieve local waste solutions, we first need to allocate land for these industries and ensure they are insulated from other development,” said Cr Calvert.

“Thirdly, planning for the future of waste management must involve investing and evaluating emerging technological solutions.

“Fourth, the 20-year plan must include strategic management of asbestos, across all levels of government. This matter has festered long enough on the doorstep of local councils and communities,” he said.

“WSROC encourages the assembly of a multi-jurisdictional task force, to drive immediate action. We encourage the NSW Government to act, as a matter of priority and in collaboration with local government, to avert an imminent crisis around the waste management policy framework.”



Media contact: Kate O’Connell, 02 9671 4333, ext 210, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


[1] The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH, 2 July, Peter Hannam)

[1] The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH, 2 July, Peter Hannam)

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 November 2019 11:58

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