Tuesday, 30 April 2019 14:57

Waste, growth and infrastructure forum

Participants in discussion at WSROC Waste, Growth and Infrastructure Forum Participants in discussion at WSROC Waste, Growth and Infrastructure Forum

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) hosted a Waste, Growth and Infrastructure Forum in Parramatta on April 11, in partnership with the Macarthur Strategic Waste Alliance. The forum aimed to highlight the region’s impending waste challenges and facilitate long-term planning for councils.

Attended by various Sydney metropolitan councils, and stakeholders from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Planning, approximately thirty organisations were represented. The critical nature of waste infrastructure was at the fore, with the need for it to be strategically planned for as an essential service, being as fundamental as water and roads.

Recently-completed work on the project included analysis of potential waste site selection for advanced waste processing infrastructure. A complex set of challenges were presented, such as the need to identify and protect strategic sites for waste processing infrastructure and the ownership of these potential sites.  It was recognised that the collaborative effort of local and state governments is required to overcome these challenges.

Municipal solid waste in Western Sydney is projected to double in the next 30 years. Councils are striving to manage the region’s waste in a context of limited waste processing capacity, revised regulations on waste management, impacts from the China National Sword Policy (which has drastically impacted the management of recyclable materials), and the limited number of sites available for new waste facilities in the region. Other factors informing Western Sydney’s resource recovery and waste situation include:

  • Population growth fueling waste generation;
  • Tension between supply and demand for waste management services;
  • Location of waste management sites; AND
  • The volume and scale of Greater Sydney’s waste production and the impact on Western Sydney.

Focal areas that came under discussion included:

  • Addressing emerging technologies needs to be unilateral;
  • Scrutiny and review of the waste levy and the need to put it into waste management;
  • Obstacles to new waste infrastructure; AND
  • Building the strategic capability of Sydney to deal with waste.

The engagement of the NSW Government, and the EPA’s commitment to a long-term waste strategy, was encouraging for attendees as it acknowledges the urgent need to address waste management at the strategic level. Speaking to the broader issue as one which extends beyond the regional context, WSROC CEO, Charles Casuscelli, remarked, “If you fix the problem of waste in Western Sydney you fix the problem of waste in Greater Sydney.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 July 2019 12:30