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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-14 12:55:26
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                    [post_content] => 

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president Mayor David O’Loughlin writes that the waste fiasco exposed in the ABC Four Corners report is a complex issue that will have wide-ranging implications for local governments.

For those of us who care about the environment and the efficient recycling of Australia's household and industrial waste, the ABC's Four Corners program was troubling.

The factors behind the mess Four Corners exposed on Monday may be complex – but we can play a powerful role in fixing them, if we choose to.

Four Corners' revelations will undermine the public's confidence in Australia’s waste management systems and, in turn, confidence in their local Council and the amount of rates they are paying for recycling services.

We know, however, that the vast majority of Local Governments across Australia manage their waste collection and recycling operations professionally and in an environmentally sustainable manner, after sustained improvements in policy and practice over decades.

We also know that Australia's waste management system is subject to market forces, private practice and regulation that is outside the control of our sector, with cross-border differences exacerbating local issues.

What also appears to be common is a failure of other levels of governments to effectively patrol the beat - to identify, penalise and stamp out individuals or companies conducting illegal dumping or other practices that undermine the industry as a whole.

And, as the Four Corners program showed, the indiscriminate imposition or removal of state landfill levies create disincentives for recycling, and encourages illegal dumping.

State government-imposed levies were originally well intended: to support recycling, to reduce waste going to landfills, to remediate landfill sites, and to educate consumers. Some of this has happened, but there is much more to do and the funds appear to be more and more difficult to access to achieve this.

In the absence of sufficient leadership or discipline by others, how can Local Government get the results our communities increasingly expect and demand?

We may not have regulatory powers, but what we do have is procurement power.

Waste management is one of our largest areas of contracted services. We spend vast amounts of money in this area and we can choose how we spend it and who we spend it with.

We can also choose our contract conditions, and how we will enforce those contract conditions. As a client, we can insist on the right to inspect and audit the services we contract, to confirm they are receiving and recycling as contracted, as we are paying them to do, and as we have told our communities we are doing on their behalf.

The control and enforcement of our contracted services can be in our hands, if we choose it to be.

In addition, if the issue is a lack of market demand for recycled products, or products containing recycled material, our procurement powers can also be used to choose and purchase these products in preference to others. In doing so we will be making a clear statement that we want to create a sustainable destination for recyclables - and that we are prepared to trial them, to use them, and to preference them.

Sustainable and valuable recycling requires a circular economy. If we want the supply side to work, we should step up and be part of the demand side.

As an elected member, if you care about recycling, have you checked your Council’s procurement policies? Have you asked if your road building specifications state a preference for recycled material, including glass and construction waste? Or that your posts, fences and benches should use recycled plastics? Are your paper sources all recycled? Are you prepared to ask your Council to trial new products to help create new markets?

As per my recent column, ALGA will continue to do all we can on the national front to improve results, to better design product stewardship schemes and to keep Local Government at the table as part of the solution.

You can do your part locally by checking your contracts, your reporting and enforcement practices, and by ensuring your procurement policies help and don't hinder the use of recyclables. In doing so, you should ask if your own Council would survive the level of scrutiny we witnessed on the television.

Let's aim to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
                    [post_title] => The waste problem is a problem for all
                    [post_excerpt] => The waste fiasco exposed in the Four Corners report will have wide-ranging implications for local governments.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27755" align="alignnone" width="287"] 
Cr Jennifer Alden, Craig Lloyd and Cr Andrea Metcalf (L-R).[/caption] Recent audits of local waste and recycling bins have shown that Greater Bendigo residents are still sending significant amounts of recyclables straight to landfill by placing many items that could be recycled into their waste bins. In an effort to improve recycling rates, the City of Greater Bendigo has launched a new community education Sort it out before you throw it out! advertising campaign. The campaign will provide useful information about the items that residents are currently not recycling to make them aware that they can. It will utilise television, radio, print, social media and signage to encourage residents to think about and improve the way they sort their waste, organics and recycling. City of Greater Bendigo Presentation and Assets director Craig Lloyd said the City’s recent waste bin audits showed that 40% of the contents of local waste bins should have been placed in the recycling bin while 22 per cent could have gone in the organics bin. “The audit is backed up by State Government figures that place Greater Bendigo in the bottom 50 per cent of Victoria’s 79 local government areas for waste resource recovery,” said Mr Lloyd. “Unfortunately, many Greater Bendigo residents are still placing recyclables such as paper and cardboard, glass bottles and jars, cans, plastics and organic garden and food waste in their red lid waste bin. “Objects that can be recycled are a valuable resource and the cost of sending waste to landfill will continue to rise so the more we recycle and the less we send to landfill the better. “Greater Bendigo wants to become one of, if not the best, local government area for resource recovery in the future. “Many people may be surprised to learn that Greater Bendigo residents are not very good at recycling and we want to see this change for the better in the near future.” Results from the audit:-
  • The average residential red lid waste bin contains 40% recyclable items, 22% organics and 38% actual waste.
  • The recyclable materials found in the red lid waste bin were mostly paper and cardboard, glass, plastic and metals.
  • The organic materials found in the red lid waste bin were mostly grass clippings and leaves, general food waste and food in packaging.
  • The average residential recycling bin contains 9% contamination. This is comprised of 5.3% general waste and 3.7% of materials such as clothing, crockery and scrap metal that cannot be processed through the kerbside recycling collection.
  • The average organics bin contains 2% contamination. This is comprised of 1% general waste and 1% recyclables such as glass, plastics and metals.
  [post_title] => Recycling audit hopes to educate [post_excerpt] => City of Greater Bendigo has launched a community recycling education campaign. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => recycling-audit-hopes-educate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-03 18:55:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-03 08:55:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27754 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27721 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-28 09:58:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:58:49 [post_content] => While the headlines are (rightly) awash with the shady dealings surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin, new research released by The Australia Institute examines the economic and employment effects of the Ord River irrigation schemes – and it’s not pretty. Expansion of Ord irrigation is part of the Federal Government’s vision for developing northern Australia, but faces opposition from indigenous groups, the Northern Territory government and is dogged by decades of economic failure. The new report finds that over $2 billion has been spent on the Ord irrigation scheme, yet it supports only around 260 jobs. The last expansion of irrigation cost taxpayers $334 million, a budget overrun of $114 million, but resulted in just 61 jobs in 2016. “The last expansion of the Ord scheme cost taxpayers $5.5 million for every job created. Clearly this isn’t an economically viable way to bring development to northern Australia,” said lead author Rod Campbell. “Cost benefit analysis shows that for every dollar taxpayers have invested in the Ord scheme since inception, they’ve been returned around 17 cents. “The lesson here is that large-scale irrigated agriculture is not the way to increase prosperity and populations in the north of Australia. Even if the economic losses were much smaller, irrigated agriculture is capital intensive – it uses lots of machines and pumps lots of water but employs very few people. “The Ord region has around 260 agricultural jobs, but at least 60 were in non-irrigated agriculture. This shows that northern regions do have viable agricultural enterprises and agriculture can be a part of northern development, but that large scale irrigation isn’t the way to do it. “There is scope for further development of agriculture in northern Australia, but efforts should be directed towards enterprises that are commercially viable, sustainable and generate employment and other benefits for northern Australian communities. “Irrigation enterprises working with existing infrastructure can be viable and worth supporting now that the infrastructure is already built – in economics jargon the costs are ‘sunk’. The key message to come out of decades of losses on Ord infrastructure is that new irrigation infrastructure in northern Australia is unlikely to be viable or provide significant community benefits. The money can be far better spent. “Investment in services and infrastructure that directly benefit communities will be vital if these communities are to retain existing populations and attract new people and businesses. Transport, communications, health and education are all likely to bring greater benefits. “Another industry that is labour intensive and has strong potential in northern Western Australia is the tourism industry. According to Tourism Western Australia, in the year ending September 2016 there were 1.4 million visitors to the north west of WA, who spent $1.2 billion. Tourism and transport infrastructure will also play a major role in developing the north. “Investing in the indigenous community should also be a focus for northern development. Programs such as the Indigenous Protected Area and Indigenous Rangers schemes provide training and employment for indigenous people in environmental management. Cost benefit analyses of indigenous social programs consistently show that they provide large net economic benefits. “In short, there is no shortage of industries, infrastructure and community projects that can help develop northern Australia in an way that is economically viable, community-oriented and sustainable. Long experience with the Ord River Irrigation Area shows that government spending on irrigated agriculture is financially dubious and not likely to lead to development that benefits the wider community of northern Australia.”   [post_title] => Money down the river [post_excerpt] => Dam the expense: new research on Ord River irrigation shows how not to develop northern Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => money-down-the-river [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 09:58:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:58:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27721 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27685 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 20:05:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 10:05:44 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27686" align="alignnone" width="300"] This box is filled with 200,000 cigarette butts displayed to highlight the impact that littering has on streets and waterways.[/caption] The City of Melbourne has become one of only two councils in Australia to run a citywide initiative to recycle millions of cigarette butts into industrial products. “We collect more than 200,000 cigarette butts each week from 367 cigarette butt bins across the city: litter that may otherwise end up being washed down drains and into the Yarra River,” Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC said. “Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and break down slowly. As part of this project, we will recycle binned cigarette butts into practical items such as shipping pallets and plastic furniture. “We have collected 1.2 million butts from around Melbourne’s universities and hospitals and busy CBD locations that can be recycled.” The City of Melbourne has partnered with Enviropoles, which collects the cigarette waste, and TerraCycle, which converts the butts into plastic products. The project is funded through the Victorian Government’s Litter Hotspots program. Studies have shown that of the four disposal routes (recycling, litter, landfill, and incineration), recycling the cigarette butts has the lowest global warming impact. The City of Melbourne has placed a perspex box filled with 200,000 cigarette butts on the banks of the Yarra River to highlight the impact that littering has on the city’s streets and waterways. Chairwoman of the City of Melbourne’s Environment portfolio Councillor Cathy Oke said the project has been completed in Vancouver and New Orleans before, but Melbourne is leading the charge in Victoria to tackle recycling cigarette waste. “Cities around the world are looking for new ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and Melbourne is leading the way,” Cr Oke said “Cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia. Butts are commonly mistaken for food by marine life and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures.” The Perspex box full of cigarette butts was placed in Queensbridge Square, where three solar compaction litter bins are located. Cr Oke said the City of Melbourne is installing more than 360 smart bins in the CBD following a successful trial of 17 bins last year. “We collect around nine million butts in our litter bins every year. We hope this project will motivate smokers to place their cigarette butts in one of the butt bins located around the CBD.” Previous surveys have found that around 10,500 cigarette butts from the central city are being deposited on the ground every day. The City of Melbourne spends approximately $13 million on waste services each year (collection and disposal).   [post_title] => Butts into better things [post_excerpt] => Melbourne is recycling cigarette butts into plastic industrial products. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => we-want-your-butt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:21:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:21:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27685 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27691 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 17:10:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 07:10:38 [post_content] => Australia will trump even Donald Trump and become the first nation to cut protections of its ocean estate if it implements plans, released by the Federal Government, to expose vulnerable areas of the marine environment to industrial fishing exploitation. An election promise to be science-based has been ignored in changes proposed to the national network of marine sanctuaries, the Save Our Marine Life alliance of 25 national and state environment groups said. Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has released maps detailing planned cutbacks to protection of coral reefs and key feeding and breeding areas around Australia, but particularly in the Coral Sea. Tourism jobs will also be placed at risk, particularly in the valuable dive and whale watching sectors, if Australia’s reputation as a destination for unspoilt nature experiences is damaged, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. “Australia will trump even Donald Trump if it implements these cut backs,” AMCS director Darren Kindleysides said. “No other nation has chosen to go backwards in the protection of its ocean estate. In the US, the Trump administration has launched a review, but Australia is now at the end of its review, ordered by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2013. “All Australians will be justifiably distressed to know that science evidence supporting an increase in protections for marine life has been thrown out the window,” Mr Kindleysides said. More than 3.5 years after the Abbott Review of national marine sanctuaries was launched, commercial fishing has emerged as the biggest beneficiary. Large areas of Queensland’s Coral Sea, as well as sanctuary protections off the coast from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW could be scrapped to make way for an expansion of long-line fishing and seafloor trawling. [caption id="attachment_27693" align="alignnone" width="300"] Long-line fishing. Image courtesy of fish.gov.au / Fishing Research and Development Corporation.[/caption] “The threat to jobs, local businesses and to the survival of unique marine life could be avoided if the government instead chose to create an evidence-based balance for Australia’s oceans,” Michelle Grady, oceans director from the Pew Charitable Trusts said. “The government-appointed review panel reinforced the importance of marine sanctuaries and Australia’s leading marine scientists have informed the Environment Minister of the threat to the productivity of our oceans if sanctuaries are removed,” she said. “Fishing is an important part of Australian life and economic activity, but so is our tourism sector and the opportunity for all Australians to experience nature unspoilt by industry. The success of our ‘blue economy’ depends on securing a healthy marine environment, not in undermining it.” Senate fight on the horizon The Labor Party is proud of the protection plans it established and is promising a fight. In 2012, Labor released what it says was the world’s largest network of marine national parks and protected areas. The network was said to be based on the latest science and extensive community consultation. Midwater trawling is to be reintroduced and it will be now be possible for long-lining to start at the southern tip of the Coral Sea reserve and continue all the way to the northern boundary. “Labor will not stand by and see our precious oceans be attacked. Labor will fight to prevent any backward steps on ocean protection.” The Greens will join The Turnbull Government's attempts to gut ocean protections will face a fight in the Senate and at the next election, the party declared. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, said: "Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has released draft maps showing protections for coral reefs and critical ecosystems will be gutted around Australia. “If the Turnbull Government wants to pick a fight with Australians who love our oceans then they will get one as any attempt to gut ocean protections will face a disallowance in the Senate. “This is the worse possible time to be scaling back environmental protections, it will make us into another international embarrassment just as we have witnessed with LNP climate vandalism." The Reef will suffer The Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles slammed the Federal Government’s proposal to decrease the Coral Sea marine park protected area by 76 per cent. “This latest Federal Government Marine Reserves review proposes to cut protections for our marine life and their habitat. “This is another example of the Turnbull Government walking away from the Great Barrier Reef. “Marine Protection is not only good for the environment it is good for the Queensland tourism industry and the 64,000 jobs in supports. Will the ocean fight back? Shifting storms will bring extreme waves, seaside damage to once placid areas, a recent study found, concluding that sea level rise is no longer the only impact climate change will bring to the world's coastlines. What is claimed to be the world’s most extensive study of a major stormfront striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before. [caption id="attachment_27692" align="alignnone" width="300"] The June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure, including these homes in Sydney's Collaroy Beach.[/caption] The study, led by engineers at University of New South Wales in Sydney, was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Scientific Reports. “If you have waterfront property or infrastructure that has previously been sheltered from the impacts of extreme waves, this is worrying news” said Mitchell Harley, lead author and a senior research associate at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL). “What this study confirms, is that simply by changing direction, storms can be many times more devastating. And that’s what we’re facing in many locations as the climate continues to change.” Ian Turner, director of WRL and a co-author, said sea level rise was no longer the only factor at play when preparing for the impact of climate change on waterfront areas. “Shifts in storm patterns and wave direction will also have major consequences, because they distort and amplify the natural variability of coastal patterns.” The study relied on data collected during the June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia, one of the fiercest in decades: it inundated towns, smashed buildings, swept away cars and infrastructure and triggered hundreds of evacuations across a 3,000 km swathe from Queensland in the north all the way to Tasmania in the south. Three people died and there were more than 80 rescues from stranded cars.   [post_title] => Senate fight looms over the deep blue sea [post_excerpt] => Cutbacks to marine protection in the Coral Sea will meet fierce opposition in the Senate, and even the ocean is predicted to fight back. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => senate-fight-looms-deep-blue-sea [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:19:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:19:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27691 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27605 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-13 19:22:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-13 09:22:19 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27606" align="alignnone" width="300"] Our national wellbeing probably peaked with Australia’s population at roughly 15 million in the 1970s, when this photo was taken in Hunters Hill, Sydney.
John Ward/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA[/caption] Peter Martin, University of South Australia; James Ward, University of South Australia, and Paul Sutton, University of Denver
Neither of Australia’s two main political parties believes population is an issue worth discussion, and neither currently has a policy about it. The Greens think population is an issue, but can’t come at actually suggesting a target. Even those who acknowledge that numbers are relevant are often quick to say that it’s our consumption patterns, and not our population size, that really matter when we talk about environmental impact. But common sense, not to mention the laws of physics, says that size and scale matter, especially on a finite planet. In the meantime the nation has a bipartisan default population policy, which is one of rapid growth. This is in response to the demands of what is effectively a coalition of major corporate players and lobby groups. Solid neoliberals all, they see all growth as good, especially for their bottom line. They include the banks and financial sector, real estate developers, the housing industry, major retailers, the media and other major players for whom an endless increase in customers is possible and profitable. However, Australians stubbornly continue to have small families. The endless growth coalition responds by demanding the government import hundreds of thousands of new consumers annually, otherwise known as the migration intake. The growth coalition has no real interest in the cumulative social or environmental downside effects of this growth, nor the actual welfare of the immigrants. They fully expect to capture the profit of this growth program, while the disadvantages, such as traffic congestion, rising house prices and government revenue diverted for infrastructure catch-up, are all socialised – that is, the taxpayer pays. The leaders of this well-heeled group are well insulated personally from the downsides of growth that the rest of us deal with daily. A better measure of wellbeing than GDP The idea that population growth is essential to boost GDP, and that this is good for everyone, is ubiquitous and goes largely unchallenged. For example, according to Treasury’s 2010 Intergenerational Report:
Economic growth will be supported by sound policies that support productivity, participation and population — the ‘3Ps’.
If one defines “economic growth” in the first place by saying that’s what happens when you have more and more people consuming, then obviously more and more people produce growth. The fact that GDP, our main measure of growth, might be an utterly inadequate and inappropriate yardstick for our times remains a kooky idea to most economists, both in business and government. Genuine progress peaked 40 years ago One of the oldest and best-researched alternative measures is the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). Based on the work of the American economist Herman Daly in the 1970s and ’80s, GPI takes into account different measures of human wellbeing, grouped into economic, environmental and social categories. Examples on the negative side of the ledger include income inequality, CO2 emissions, water pollution, loss of biodiversity and the misery of car accidents. On the positive side, and also left out of GDP, are the value of household work, parenting, unpaid child and aged care, volunteer work, the quality of education, the value of consumer goods lasting longer, and so on. The overall GPI measure, expressed in dollars, takes 26 such factors into account. Since it is grounded in the real world and our real experience, GPI is a better indicator than GDP of how satisfactory we find our daily lives, of our level of contentment, and of our general level of wellbeing. As it happens, there is quite good data on GPI going back decades for some countries. While global GDP (and GDP per capita) continued to grow strongly after the second world war, and continues today, global GPI basically stalled in 1970 and has barely improved since. In Australia the stall point appears to be about 1974. GPI is now lower than for any period since the early 1960s. That is, our wellbeing, if we accept that GPI is a fair measure of the things that make life most worthwhile, has been going backwards for decades. What has all the growth been for? It is reasonable to ask, therefore, what exactly has been the point of the huge growth in GDP and population in Australia since that time if our level of wellbeing has declined. What is an economy for, if not to improve our wellbeing? Why exactly have we done so much damage to our water resources, soil, the liveability of our cities and to the other species with which we share this continent if we haven’t really improved our lives by doing it? As alluded to earlier, the answer lies to a large extent in the disastrous neoliberal experiment foisted upon us. Yet many Australians understand that it is entirely valid to measure the success of our society by the wellbeing of its citizens and its careful husbandry of natural capital. At the peak of GPI in Australia in the mid-1970s our population was under 15 million. Here then, perhaps, is a sensible, optimal population size for Australia operating under the current economic system, since any larger number simply fails to deliver a net benefit to most citizens. It suggests that we have just had 40 years of unnecessary, ideologically-driven growth at an immense and unjustifiable cost to our natural and social capital. In addition, all indications are that this path is unsustainable. With Australian female fertility sitting well below replacement level, we can achieve a slow and natural return to a lower population of our choice without any drastic or coercive policies. This can be done simply by winding back the large and expensive program of importing consumers to generate GDP growth – currently around 200,000 people per year and forecast to increase to almost 250,000 by 2020. Despite endless political and media obfuscation, this is an entirely different issue from assisting refugees, with whom we can afford to be much more generous.
The ConversationYou can read other articles in the Is Australia Full? series here. Peter Martin, Lecturer, School of Natural & Built Environments, University of South Australia; James Ward, Lecturer in Water & Environmental Engineering, University of South Australia, and Paul Sutton, Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Denver This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Why a population of, say, 15 million makes sense for Australia [post_excerpt] => Neither of Australia’s two main political parties believes population is an issue worth discussion. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => population-say-15-million-makes-sense-australia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-13 19:22:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-13 09:22:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27605 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27598 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-12 20:51:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-12 10:51:30 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27599" align="alignnone" width="300"] The grey area shows the area to be relinquished by Shenhua (NSW Government).[/caption] The NSW Government has reached an agreement to protect (some of) the Liverpool Plains by scaling back the section of the Shenhua Watermark Coal exploration licence that encroached on the flat fertile agricultural land of the plains. Minister for Resources Don Harwin said the agreement will see the government refunding around $262 million in exchange for 51.4 per cent of the company’s exploration licence being handed back, originally sold to Shenhua by the previous Labor government. “Any future mining activity will now be restricted to the ridge lands, with a commencement still subject to further management plans and the ongoing monitoring of strict conditions already in place.” Labor is questioning the money NSW Labor is calling on the government to cancel the Shenhua Watermark project altogether, criticising the decision to compensate the company $262 million for 51.4 per cent of their exploration licence, which expired in October 2016. According to the NSW Labor statement, a clause in the exploration license states: “If the licence holder fails to commence substantial development of a mine within eight years of the awarding of the original exploration license… the Minister may cancel any title in place.” NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley said the decision by the Government will inevitably see mining on the fertile Liverpool Plains, and the payment was unnecessary.  “It is outrageous that this government will hand back hundreds of millions of dollars for Shenhua Watermark to continue exploration in Liverpool Plains, after it was already given eight years. The exploration licence needs to be cancelled. “The license holder has not commenced substantial development of a mine, despite receiving an exploration licence almost nine years ago. “Labor is calling on the NSW Government to shut Shenhua Watermark down because the potential impact to the environment is unacceptable.” Shadow Minister for Resources Adam Searle added: “While Shenhua Watermark is free to pursue a new lease, even on a smaller parcel of land, the NSW Government is under no obligation to pay them any money and should not do so – but especially after their exploration license has already expired… This is grotesque corporate welfare when they should be investing in new classrooms and hospitals.” Farmers are not happy, either Liverpool Plains farmers have reacted angrily to the NSW Government’s announcement that it has bought back only half of the coal exploration licence over the Liverpool Plains owned by Shenhua, allowing the company to go ahead with an open-cut coal mine in the midst of NSW’s food bowl. Breeza farmer Andrew Pursehouse, whose property adjoins the proposed Shenhua coal mine, said: “We’ve been betrayed by the NSW Government. If it was serious about protecting farmland, it would have cancelled the coal licence outright and stopped this coal mine. "Carving out areas that Shenhua wasn't going to mine won't change a thing. Anything less than the full cancellation of the Watermark Project will fail to protect the farming systems of the Liverpool Plains. "The community is fully committed to fight this coal mine going ahead no matter what this government decides." National campaigner for Lock the Gate Alliance Phil Laird said: “The NSW Government could have cancelled this licence and banned coal mining on our agricultural land. Instead, they are handing tax-payers’ money to a foreign-owned company and waving them through to mine our food bowl. It beggars belief. “We will support the farming community of the Liverpool Plains to keep this mine out of one of the best agricultural regions in this country. [post_title] => Did the NSW Government have to pay for the coal licence? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government spent $262m, but did it need to pay even a cent? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-pay-coal-licence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-12 20:51:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-12 10:51:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27598 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27581 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-10 15:38:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-10 05:38:55 [post_content] => While South Australia extends a program to boost exports of the state’s making, Queensland’s coffers have been boosted by the post-cyclone recovery of its coal exports. Queensland: coal rules The value of Queensland merchandise exports surged 32.2% - or an increase $15.5 billion - in the past year to be $63.4 billion in the 12 months to May 2017, boosted by the recommencement of coal exports following the cyclone. In the 12-month period until May 2015, total Queensland merchandise exports was $46.5 billion. “Queensland posted a record calendar for exports in 2016 with $52 billion. We are well on track to post another record this year,” she said. “Overseas trade supports thousands of local jobs in key industries across Queensland.” The Premier said growth had been across key markets including Queensland’s top three trading partners - China ($16.5 billion total exports, at an increase of 46%), Japan ($10 billion up 26%) and India ($8.5 billion up 61%). Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt said a significant rise in the value of coal exports was the primary driver behind Queensland setting another record export total but exports of some agricultural commodities also rose in value. “The significant rise was driven largely by an increase in the value of coal exports, primarily hard-coking coal, and to a lesser extent LNG exports. “This was despite the impacts of TC Debbie which caused significant disruption to coal exports in the May quarter. “While the volume of coal exports was down by an estimated 13.4 million tonnes compared to a year earlier, the nominal values were supported by a surge in coal prices.” Mr Pitt said a number of agricultural exports rose in the May quarter compared with the same period last year. “Crops exports increased $180 million over the year to May quarter 2017 to $474 million, driven largely by an increase in chickpea exports and to a lesser extent wheat,” he said. “Cotton exports rose $61 million over the year to $188 million in the May quarter. “The latest data also showed an increase of $385 million in mineral exports over the year to May quarter 2017, rising to $2.3 billion. “There was a $172 million increase in the value of aluminium exports, particularly alumina,” Mr Pitt said. South Australia’s Export Partnership Program (EPP) The Export Partnership Program provides funding assistance for small and medium-sized businesses to access new global markets through marketing and export development opportunities, and has now been opened up to associations as well as individual businesses. It can help local businesses to:
  • research feasible overseas markets,
  • develop marketing material for distribution overseas,
  • participate in international trade shows, trade missions and overseas business programs,
  • adapt websites for specific international markets,
  • access cultural and export training, mentoring and coaching services, and
  • support incoming buyers.
Successful applicants may receive up to a maximum of $50,000 to assist with export activities. Companies can apply multiple times until they reach the full $50,000 allocation. Grants of up to $5,000 are also available to aspiring exporters for coaching and mentoring expenses. Funding is available to South Australian owned and based businesses that have been operational for at least two years and have an annual turnover of more than $100,000. Must be made in South Australia
  • Eligible applicants must export goods or services that are grown or ‘Made in South Australia’.
  • If goods or services are not made in South Australia, then businesses must prepare a detailed submission outlining the net benefits that the product or service will bring to the state.
  • Goods are considered ‘Made in South Australia’ if the manufacturing process for a business meets those requirements.
  [post_title] => Exports: a tale of two states [post_excerpt] => While SA extends a program to boost exports, Qld’s coffers are boosted by the recovery of its coal exports. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => exports-tale-two-states [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-11 12:10:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:10:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27581 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27569 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-10 13:53:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-10 03:53:29 [post_content] => The Queensland Government is throwing its support behind a new $60 million Atherton Tableland biorefinery that it says could generate 130 regional jobs and encourage diverse cropping in the region, however, politicians across the nation could well suffer from some voter backlash for their backing of the Adani mine in Queensland. The good: sugar Queensland Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the MSF Sugar biorefinery was part of a multi-million dollar investment in 21st century bio-futures plants that could generate more than 130 jobs in regional Queensland. “The proposed MSF Sugar biorefinery is expected to generate 80 construction and farming jobs and an additional 50 operational jobs, delivering a further boost to the region’s economy,” Dr Lynham said. “Powered by an onsite bagasse-fuelled 24 MW Green Power station, the combined biorefinery complex is expected to produce 110,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 200,000 MW of green electricity for the grid and 55 million litres of ethanol biofuel annually.” The company will trial large-scale blue agave cropping as an alternative feedstock to sugarcane in the off-growing season, which could potentially allow the biorefinery to operate 12 months of the year. Blue agave is said to grow well in dryland conditions with minimum irrigation required. Dr Lynham said the government was providing funding that would primarily be used by the company to progress feasibility studies, to accelerate construction commencement of the proposed biorefinery. Dr Lynham said Atherton’s MSF Sugar biorefinery was another step towards achieving the state’s plan for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector. Acceleration of the Atherton project came out of the government’s $4 million Biofutures Acceleration Program that offers support to companies to build commercial-scale biorefineries in regional Queensland to process materials such as agricultural and industrial waste. “More than 120 parties indicated interest in biorefining in Queensland through the program and 26 submitted detailed expressions of interest,” he said. Other biorefinery projects coming to regional Queensland from the Biofutures Acceleration Program are:
  • A biorefinery in another Queensland sugarcane region by US biotechnology company Amyris that would create 70 operational jobs. The company aims to produce 23,000 tonnes a year of a sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene used in products including cosmetic emollients, fragrances, fuels, solvents, lubricants and nutraceuticals.
  • A planned $26 million expansion of United Ethanol’s Dalby Biorefinery facility by 24ML to 100ML, creating 50 jobs. The company also plans to conduct detailed scientific studies to improve the marketability of its high-value and high-protein animal feed product called ‘dry distillers grain’ later this year.
The bad: subsidising coal A new study has reinforced how cabinet ministers’ electorates strongly oppose coal subsidies. New polling of seven electorates belonging to senior federal cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, reveals strong opposition to a federal subsidised loan for Adani’s coal project, and support for instituting a moratorium on new coal mines. The Australia Institute commissioned ReachTEL to conduct surveys of 4,712 Australian residents across the electorates of Wentworth (Turnbull), Cook (Morrison), Curtin (Bishop), Dickson (Dutton), Flinders (Hunt), Kooyong (Frydenberg) and Sturt (Pyne) on the 8th of June 2017. Respondents were asked if they supported or opposed the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) giving Adani a one billion dollar subsidised loan for its coal rail line. 17-28% supported the idea while 51-70% opposed it. “Despite a push by some conservatives for coal subsidy polices, these results - in key blue-ribbon Liberal seats - show strong opposition to that very idea,” executive director of The Australia Institute Ben Oquist said. “It makes sense that the Liberal Party base would be so opposed to the idea of spending taxpayers’ money on subsidies for an industry as well established as coal mining. “What makes less sense is the idea that ministers who represent those seats, who believe in free markets and small government principles, would ignore both the politics and economics when it comes to Adani. “When asked more broadly about the idea of taxpayer subsidies for Adani, the opposition was even higher.”
  Cook Curtin Dickson Flinders Kooyong Sturt Wentworth
Support 10.7% 13.3% 19.7% 15.4% 15.2% 17.0% 14.6%
Oppose 70.8% 61.0% 62.2% 67.9% 66.4% 53.3% 70.1%
Don’t know/Not sure 18.5% 25.8% 18.1% 16.7% 18.4% 29.7% 15.4%
  In every electorate, more people supported a moratorium on new coal mines than opposed the proposal. 51% of the Prime Minister’s constituents support the idea with 31% opposed. “These results show that Malcolm Turnbull should be confident in staring down the pro-coal faction in his party room,” Mr Oquist said.
  Cook Curtin Dickson Flinders Kooyong Sturt Wentworth
Liberal/LNP 63% 65% 56% 54% 56% 56% 61%
Labor 37% 35% 44% 46% 44% 44% 39%
  [post_title] => Queensland to boost biofuels, Adani support questioned [post_excerpt] => $60M FNQ biorefinery to create 130 jobs, but support for Adani hits new lows. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-boost-biofuels-adani-support-questioned [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-10 15:28:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-10 05:28:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27569 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27504 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-29 15:22:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-29 05:22:26 [post_content] => The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has released its final report into the Australian Government’s procurement rules, including a range of recommendations for improving the rules on how the government spends its money. The committee’s recommendations include:
  • Amending the rules to require all goods purchased by the Australian Government to comply with national standards.
  • The introduction of policies to promote environmentally sustainable procurement and best practice terms and conditions for subcontractors.
  • The appointment of an independent Industry Advocate to provide support for businesses to access Commonwealth contracts, to provide advice to government agencies, and to evaluate and monitor the economic benefit associated with government procurement.
  • The publication of comprehensive guidelines to inform officials’ application of the rules in a consistent, transparent and equitable manner.
Committee chairman Senator Nick Xenophon believes the new procurement rules, to be introduced in March, have the potential to deliver significant benefit to the Australian economy by providing important support to Australian industry. “Implemented effectively, the new rules will enable a broader, more accurate consideration of value-for-money in procurement decision making,” Senator Xenophon said. “However, their impact will be dampened unless the Australian Government acts swiftly to address the implementation concerns identified in this report. “A national Industry Advocate, cast on the highly successfully South Australian model, is urgently needed to overcome a current procurement culture focused on lowest cost rather than value for money, lacking in transparency and unaware of the benefits of engaging Australian businesses.” Last financial year more than $56.9 billion was spent by the Australian Government on the goods and services required to deliver its policy objectives. More than 10,000 businesses were contracted to deliver these items, including 9,595 small to medium businesses. The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement was formed to investigate the implementation of the new Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which came into effect on 1 March 2017. The Committee considered how the implementation of the new rules could be strengthened to increase the economic benefit procurement delivers to the Australian economy. For more information about the Committee and to view its final report, visit the Committee’s website.   [post_title] => Government procurement rules to change [post_excerpt] => The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has released its recommendations for improving how the government spends its money. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-procurement-rules-change [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:45:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:45:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27504 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27492 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-28 17:04:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:04:46 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption]   Comment - Charles Pauka Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion. “This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale. “It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.” Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef. [caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption]   Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that.  “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes. “This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.” The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016. 64,000 vs. 1,400 So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range. “The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia. “The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef. “As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.” I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist. “The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven.  “Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef. “The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community. “In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said. [caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption] [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coal-coral-queensland-government-undecided [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:39:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:39:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27492 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27487 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-27 07:17:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-26 21:17:58 [post_content] => The mobile phone industry’s product stewardship program MobileMuster has commended the efforts of local councils who have dramatically increased their collections and helped make recycling more accessible to the community. Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP Minister for Environment and Energy said eight councils from across Australia were recognised as Australia’s top recyclers. “Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste issues in Australia and it’s great to see MobileMuster bringing industry and local government together to make it easy to recycle and deliver important environmental benefits to our communities.” The top achievers The following councils took out top honours in the awards:
  • National Top Collector per Capita – District Council of Orroroo – Carrieton (SA).
  • NSW Top Collector – New South Wales – Hornsby Shire Council.
  • Territory Top Collector – Northern Territory – Alice Springs Town Council.
  • QLD Top Collector – Queensland – Brisbane City Council.
  • WA Top Collector – Western Australia – City of Stirling.
  • SA Top Collector – South Australia – City of Onkaparinga.
  • TAS Top Collector – Tasmania – Burnie City Council.
  • VIC Top Collector – Victoria – Moonee Valley City Council.
Recycling manager for MobileMuster Spyro Kalos said: “While council collections have been steadily growing in the last couple of years, it’s great to see an even higher lift this year with councils helping inform and educate their residents about recycling.” “In the last year, councils have increased their collections by a huge 25% and recycled over 4.5 tonnes of mobiles phone and components through the program. “Over the last decade, local government partners have collected 35 tonnes of mobiles phone components for recycling, including approximately 420,000 handsets and batteries. “However, with an estimated 23 million old mobile phones sitting in drawers waiting to be recycled, including five million that are broken and no longer working, MobileMuster will continue to work with councils to encourage residents to recycle responsibly,” Mr Kalos said. The top Mobile Muster councils in each state were: New South Wales
  1. Hornsby Shire Council
  2. City of Sydney
  3. Randwick City Council
  4. Lake Macquarie City Council
  5. Burwood Council
Northern Territory
  1. Alice Springs Town Council
  2. East Arnhem Shire Council
  3. West Arnhem Regional Council
Queensland
  1. Brisbane City Council
  2. Redland City Council
  3. Townsville City Council
  4. Scenic Rim Regional Council
  5. Cairns Regional Council
South Australia
  1. City of Onkaparinga
  2. City of Charles Sturt
  3. City of Tea Tree Gully
  4. City of Mitcham
  5. City of Port Adelaide Enfield
Tasmania
  1. Burnie City Council
  2. Launceston City Council
  3. Glenorchy City Council
  4. Break O’Day Council
  5. Kingborough Council
Victoria
  1. Moonee Valley City Council
  2. Nillumbik Shire Council
  3. City of Monash
  4. Latrobe City Council
  5. City of Greater Geelong
Western Australia
  1. City of Stirling
  2. City of South Perth
  3. City of Fremantle
  4. City of Cockburn
  5. City of Vincent
[post_title] => Council recycling up 25% [post_excerpt] => Recycling of old mobile phones by councils is up 25%, to 4.5 tonnes. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-recycling-25 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-27 11:23:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-27 01:23:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27487 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27440 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-20 10:19:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-20 00:19:51 [post_content] => A group of Australia’s largest waste management companies are calling for the NSW container deposit scheme (CDS) to be delayed seven months so it can start on the same day as the Queensland CDS on July 1, 2018. The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC), whose five foundation members are Veolia, JJ Richards, Cleanaway, Remondis and Suez, last week voted to lobby the NSW government to delay the NSW scheme. The NWRIC says the proposed state-wide network of more than 450 collection points that the government has asked network operators to set up is incomplete. The network could face further delays as some collection points need development applications and work on safety and traffic management. The industry group argues that the scheme is not yet ready to be rolled out as scheduled by the NSW government on December 1 and says that pushing ahead with it this year could end in tears. NWRIC CEO Max Spedding said there were several issues yet to be properly thrashed out and the rules around the scheme had been released only six months ago. “The industry feels that the scheme is under done and a bit rushed. We’re concerned that there are still these unknowns that would like to see resolved earlier rather than later,” Mr Spedding said. The issues included: awarding tenders; negotiations between local councils and industry about the ownership of deposit containers; achieving clarity around payment for containers (especially because of new regulations specifying that scrap steel trading must be cashless) and a final decision on which containers are eligible for refunds. “The scheme may commence with sub-standard collection infrastructure and poorly implemented systems. Fraud may occur. This could undermine public confidence in this scheme and the industry more broadly,” he warned. He said operators could pull out if the CDS did not work for them, especially if there was a lack of collection points that made the scheme unviable. Another concern is that by starting the NSW container deposit scheme earlier than Queensland containers are stockpiled or transported across the border to NSW. “This is always a risk where there are cross-jurisdictional market distortions,” Mr Spedding said. “It is industry’s experience that where money can be made by transporting waste, businesses are set up. More than half a million tonnes currently moves between NSW and Queensland to avoid levies.” NWRIC Chairman Phil Richards said regulators were already working to harmonise the rules of both the NSW and Queensland container deposit schemes, so it seemed natural to harmonise their start dates. “By delaying the start date of the NSW CDS by only seven months - to July 1, 2018 - both NSW and Queensland can prevent cross border transport of beverage containers and stockpiling issues,” Mr Richards said. “CDS programs are complex, so it is also important that adequate time is given to network operators to establish collection and administration systems. These systems are needed to reduce disruption and deliver a high quality service to the public.”   But Mr Spedding said the NSW Environmental Protection Authority was adamant that the scheme would start by December at a meeting last week with major players, operators and processors, despite their protestations. Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel shares Mr Spedding’s concerns and agrees the scheme is unlikely to be postponed. “There has already been one extension and it looks extremely unlikely will be granted,” he said. “There will always be problems with any start date and while NSW has left a relatively short period for the roll-out of the infrastructure [collection points and depots] I think all the stakeholders have to work as fast and as constructively as possible.” Mr Angel said the Alliance still had concerns over whether there would be enough collection points and depots to ensure it was convenient for people to take part in the scheme. Under the NSW CDS people can hand in most empty drink containers of between 150 millilitres to 3 litres and receive a 10c refund at a collection depot or reverse vending machine. Exceptions include milk and flavoured milk containers, casks, juice containers and glass containers for wines and spirits. [post_title] => NSW and QLD container deposit schemes should both start in 2018, says waste industry [post_excerpt] => Scheme could fail if rushed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-qld-container-deposit-schemes-start-2018-says-waste-industry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-20 10:19:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-20 00:19:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27440 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27365 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-13 12:21:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-13 02:21:00 [post_content] => Stinky wheelie bins, noisy garbage trucks and scavenging rodents will never plague Maroochydore’s new city centre on the Sunshine Coast. Rather than employing a fleet of wheelie bins and rubbish trucks, Sunshine Coast Council will suck rubbish from waste inlets in the walls of apartments and commercial buildings at speeds of up to 70kmh through a 6.5 kilometre system of underground vacuum pipes, lurking beneath Australia’s newest, 53-hectare city. Three colour-coded waste inlets will deal with general waste, recyclables and organics and each will be compartmentalised and sealed underground until the vacuum pump gets switched on to suck it into the central waste facility, probably twice daily. There will also be waste inlets above ground in public areas which will look a bit like daleks. The waste is then put into sealed compactors and once or twice a week the council receives a message indicating the compactor is full and the waste needs to be collected. The council’s Director of Infrastructure Services Andrew Ryan said the Swedish system, pioneered in 1965, was already popular in the Northern Hemisphere and would be the first one installed in Australia. He said the process functioned similarly to sewerage and water systems. The system will cost $21 million to install but Mr Ryan said costs would be recouped from CBD occupants over the life of the project, around 25 to 30 years. The council will build the central waste collection centre and charge per property to cover operational and collection costs. “One of the things we really liked about this system is they work really well in large-scale, medium density masterplan communities [like Maroochydore], particularly where the developer has a long-term interest in the precinct,” Mr Ryan said. “The most obvious advantages are you have a public realm that doesn’t have garbage trucks trundling up and down the street in the early morning or at night. There’s no noise, no smell and no vermin. “Buildings can have active frontages because you’re just dealing with a pipe [not bins] and you save on labour costs.” Mr Ryan said Sydney and Melbourne had a good look at the system but it was difficult for the business case to stack up because of the cost of sinking pipes underground in an already established city centre, although he said Barcelona and Singapore had both done retrofits. The system was most suited to medium to high density masterplan communities of between 3000 to 5000 people or a resort-style development where five or six buildings were located together. But it is not just about waste collection. At the same time, the council will install a high-speed fibre optic network as part of its smart cities’ project. This will provide free Wi-Fi hotspots, movement sensors, smart signs and lighting. The council is not hanging about. The pipes should be in the ground within three months and the central collection centre should be operational by December 2018. [post_title] => Council dumps wheelie bins for whizz-bang underground waste system [post_excerpt] => Maroochydore in Australian first. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-dumps-wheelie-bins-whizz-bang-underground-waste-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-13 13:00:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-13 03:00:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27365 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27811 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 12:55:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 02:55:26 [post_content] => Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president Mayor David O’Loughlin writes that the waste fiasco exposed in the ABC Four Corners report is a complex issue that will have wide-ranging implications for local governments. For those of us who care about the environment and the efficient recycling of Australia's household and industrial waste, the ABC's Four Corners program was troubling. The factors behind the mess Four Corners exposed on Monday may be complex – but we can play a powerful role in fixing them, if we choose to. Four Corners' revelations will undermine the public's confidence in Australia’s waste management systems and, in turn, confidence in their local Council and the amount of rates they are paying for recycling services. We know, however, that the vast majority of Local Governments across Australia manage their waste collection and recycling operations professionally and in an environmentally sustainable manner, after sustained improvements in policy and practice over decades. We also know that Australia's waste management system is subject to market forces, private practice and regulation that is outside the control of our sector, with cross-border differences exacerbating local issues. What also appears to be common is a failure of other levels of governments to effectively patrol the beat - to identify, penalise and stamp out individuals or companies conducting illegal dumping or other practices that undermine the industry as a whole. And, as the Four Corners program showed, the indiscriminate imposition or removal of state landfill levies create disincentives for recycling, and encourages illegal dumping. State government-imposed levies were originally well intended: to support recycling, to reduce waste going to landfills, to remediate landfill sites, and to educate consumers. Some of this has happened, but there is much more to do and the funds appear to be more and more difficult to access to achieve this. In the absence of sufficient leadership or discipline by others, how can Local Government get the results our communities increasingly expect and demand? We may not have regulatory powers, but what we do have is procurement power. Waste management is one of our largest areas of contracted services. We spend vast amounts of money in this area and we can choose how we spend it and who we spend it with. We can also choose our contract conditions, and how we will enforce those contract conditions. As a client, we can insist on the right to inspect and audit the services we contract, to confirm they are receiving and recycling as contracted, as we are paying them to do, and as we have told our communities we are doing on their behalf. The control and enforcement of our contracted services can be in our hands, if we choose it to be. In addition, if the issue is a lack of market demand for recycled products, or products containing recycled material, our procurement powers can also be used to choose and purchase these products in preference to others. In doing so we will be making a clear statement that we want to create a sustainable destination for recyclables - and that we are prepared to trial them, to use them, and to preference them. Sustainable and valuable recycling requires a circular economy. If we want the supply side to work, we should step up and be part of the demand side. As an elected member, if you care about recycling, have you checked your Council’s procurement policies? Have you asked if your road building specifications state a preference for recycled material, including glass and construction waste? Or that your posts, fences and benches should use recycled plastics? Are your paper sources all recycled? Are you prepared to ask your Council to trial new products to help create new markets? As per my recent column, ALGA will continue to do all we can on the national front to improve results, to better design product stewardship schemes and to keep Local Government at the table as part of the solution. You can do your part locally by checking your contracts, your reporting and enforcement practices, and by ensuring your procurement policies help and don't hinder the use of recyclables. In doing so, you should ask if your own Council would survive the level of scrutiny we witnessed on the television. Let's aim to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. [post_title] => The waste problem is a problem for all [post_excerpt] => The waste fiasco exposed in the Four Corners report will have wide-ranging implications for local governments. 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Environment