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Parties respond to WMAA’s national policy platform

Ahead of the July 2 elections, both Labor and the Greens have responded to the WMAA’s national policy platform.

The response follows the issue of WMAA’s policy position paper issued on May 19, highlighting the importance of Australia’s resource recovery industry.

The Coalition

At publication, the Coalition Government and Senator Nick Xenophon have yet to issue their respective reactions.

However, the Coalition have a long history of stalwart support for the Australian resource recovery industry. Major initiatives by the group include NSW’s Waste Less, Recycle More program, Australia’s largest Government led resource recovery program.

The Coalition is also responsible for the $2.55 billion Emission Reduction Fund, which has credited the emissions reduction generated by landfill gas projects, mechanical biological treatment plants and other organics diversion systems.

Federal Labor

For its part, Labor reiterated the WMMA’s position on resource recovery’s importance to Australia as a whole.  

In its response to the WMMA statement, Labor said that "Waste management and resource recovery is a vital part of lifting Australia’s stewardship of the environment and improving public health outcomes.”

Labor adds that, if elected, the party will “consider improved administrative arrangements to ensure more effective policy outcomes in this sector.”

The Greens

The Greens have offered mixed response to the policy requests of resource recovery businesses.

On the positive side, the Greens have largely agreed with the points raised in the WMMA’s statement, including the calls for national leadership, recognizing the waste management industry’s value, improved cross-portfolio coordination and greater consistency in regulatory frameworks.  

The Greens have also offered to implement mandatory product stewardship for a range of products including e-waste, mattresses and tyres. They also support a national container deposit scheme.

Serious exceptions abound, however. While the WMMA calls for exempting the industry from a carbon pricing scheme, the Greens believes that such a mechanism is necessary to drive behavior change universally.

They have also opposed “waste incineration” - although it is unclear where they draw the line on energy recovery projects - which include a great diversity of technologies.

The Greens also favor helping local governments to provide a universal service for on-street collection, going against evidence that privatisation is the best way to stimulate the sector.

This is also in contrast with the WMMA’s position that councils should not force business owners to avail of these services, claiming that it violates the National Competition Policy.

In addition, the Greens have issued their own waste reduction policy.