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                    [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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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-03 18:55:38
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 08:55:38
                    [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] => 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 ) [3] => 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 ) [4] => 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 ) [5] => 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 ) [6] => 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 ) [7] => 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 ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27284 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-02 11:24:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:24:51 [post_content] =>   NSW councils tentative on housing affordability package Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ‘promising ideas’ in the state’s new housing affordability package but said the reforms were ‘somewhat light on detail’. The reforms include stamp duty concessions for first home buyers, changes to the first home buyer’s grant, higher taxes on foreign investors and accelerating council-led rezonings and development application approvals. "LGNSW congratulates the government on its efforts to do what it can to support housing affordability, and there's nothing we'd like more to do than to come out and praise their efforts,” LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said. "Unfortunately until there is more detailed information available it really seems to be a case of the devil will lie in the detail." Mr Rhoades said the sector welcomed many components of the package, including the ‘very positive’ move to lift the cap on development contributions to ensure new homes had the necessary infrastructure to support them, like footpaths, roads and parks. He also cautiously welcomed the announcement of funding of up to $2.5 million for ‘growth priority councils’ to help councils update their Local Environment Plans quicker. "It's great news that these ten to 15 councils will be supported to plan for future growth, but we are a little concerned at the suggestion that councils should accelerate the rezoning of land," Mr Rhoades said.  "Rezoning needs good strategic planning at a local level, and it's important that we don't give this up in the pursuit of speed at all costs.” He said it was unclear whether the government’s new guidelines around protecting the local character of communities would have much force. However, Mr Rhoades said councils were pleased the government had not moved straight to mandatory independent planning panels for deciding larger development applications. "These panels work very effectively for some councils, but other councils don't see the need for them - it really needs to be a matter of local choice.”   Digital marketplace for smart cities Local councils can now use the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Digital Marketplace platform to collaborate on smart city projects, including smart lighting, rubbish collection and infrastructure modelling. The new functionality, which is expected to become permanent, was introduced to help councils find suppliers for the innovative products and services they need to deliver smart city ideas. “There is a great appetite for innovation within local councils, who are at the forefront of smart city initiatives,” Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said. “Already 25 per cent of registered buyers on the Digital Marketplace are local government and there are more than 400 sellers who can provide the digital expertise they need to transform their communities.” There are already some exciting projects up on the Digital Marketplace, such as Sunshine Coast’s underground waste collection project and Ipswich Council’s 5D data modelling, which brings together streams of data to build a five-dimensional view of the city’s infrastructure. The Marketplace is supporting the federal government’s Smart Cities Plan and complements the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. Applications for the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program close on 30 June 2017.  Eight Sydney councils will offer residents free energy advice Eight Sydney councils will offer free energy advice to residents through the Our Energy Future partnership, going live on World Environment Day, Monday 5 June. Eight councils are working with Our Energy Future: Inner West, Bayside, City of Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown City, Georges River, City of Parramatta, Randwick City, and City of Sydney. Our Energy Future (formerly Our Solar Future) will involve an energy advice website, phone line and free, no-obligation quotes on solar and assessment services. Users can find information such as trusted solar and storage battery retailers and installers and tips on improving the energy efficiency of their homes and workplaces. For a discounted rate, Our Energy Future experts can also conduct comprehensive energy assessments to offer more tailored advice.   Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) President Councillor Sally Betts said she was excited about the launch. “We’re delighted that Our Energy Future and SSROC have been able to come together with eight councils to deliver financial savings to our local residents,” she said. Our Energy Future is coordinated by Positive Charge, a not-for-profit social enterprise. “Our organisation has its foundations in working with local government to reduce emissions and increase the use of renewable and energy efficiency technologies,” said Manager Positive Charge Kate Nicolazzo. “We are thrilled to be partnering with SSROC to bring this award-winning service to Sydney-region residents,” she said. SSROC General Manager Namoi Dougall said, “Our Energy Future is a key element of SSROC’s Renewable Energy Master Plan, and will be run by Positive Charge for a 15-month pilot.” [post_title] => Around the councils: Digital Marketplace open for smart cities; Response to NSW housing reforms [post_excerpt] => And eight Sydney council's energy efficiency push. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-councils-digital-marketplace-open-smart-cities-response-nsw-housing-reforms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:32:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:32:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27284 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27216 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 05:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 19:00:00 [post_content] =>    Bendigo Council's Presentation and Assets Director Craig Lloyd with Clean Cube. Pic: supplied.    A solar waste compactor that functions with an ordinary household wheelie bin will be trialled by a Victorian council keen to increase bin capacity, cut costs and reduce the number of rubbish collections the council makes.  The City of Greater Bendigo Council is currently trialling Clean Cube, a smart waste compactor which runs on renewable solar energy and tells you when it is full. The Clean Cube was developed by Korean start-up company Ecube and it can hold a 120 or 240 litre bin.  Bendigo Council’s Australian supplier is Smart City Solutions. City of Greater Bendigo Presentation and Assets Director Craig Lloyd said it could help reduce the cost of waste collection. “By reducing the frequency of collections there is the potential to reduce the costs and labour associated with providing waste collection services to public areas by up to 80 per cent,” Mr Lloyd said. “It’s important to look at the new technology that exists to see if it’s viable for our community.” He said the Clean Cube used smart technology and multiple sensors to measure the bin’s fill level in real time. “The sensors trigger the automatic compaction of waste inside the bin and by doing this the capacity of the bin is increased by up to eight times meaning it doesn’t have to be emptied as often,” Mr Lloyd said. “However when it is full, the Clean Cube electronically notifies the city’s waste collection staff that it needs to be emptied.” Mr Lloyd said the compactor’s smart technology also included safety features that could detect sudden temperature rises, such as a fire in the bin.  Using the compactor bins at events would also reduce overflowing and litter. Ecube Labs’ online marketing manager, Matti Juutinen, told IoTAustralia in June last year that the cube can hold up to eight times more rubbish than traditional bins. “We are the only company in the industry to offer an ultrasonic fill-level sensor (with 10 years battery life) and a smart solar-powered waste compacting bin on a single real-time monitoring platform that generates optimised schedules and routes based on fill-level forecasting,” Mr Juutinen said. He said the compactor could go for two to three weeks without sunlight once fully charged. Charging it takes three to four days if there has been at least four hours of sunlight on each day. The Clean Cube is being trialled at Lake Weeroona, the city’s most popular recreation area, until June 13. [post_title] => Korean solar waste compactor could slash councils' rubbish collection costs [post_excerpt] => Victorian council trials Clean Cube. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => vic-council-trials-korean-solar-waste-compactor-slash-rubbish-collection-costs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:23:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:23:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27216 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27042 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-04 10:27:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-04 00:27:37 [post_content] =>   Cumberland Council will press ahead with a controversial plan to outsource kerbside waste and recycling before September’s local government elections. The Western Sydney suburbs council, born out of a forced merger between Holroyd and Auburn Councils and part of Parramatta in May 2016, has put the council’s waste and recycling services out to tender with a deadline of May 26. Up for grabs are services include kerbside garbage; recyclables; organics and garden waste; council clean ups and picking up dumped rubbish and this covers around  70,000 housesholds. This translates annually into dealing with around 60,000 tonnes of garbage; 14,000 tonnes of recycling and 5,500 tonnes of organic and green waste, as well as two to four council clean ups a year and collecting dumped rubbish within 24 hours of it being reported. Government News understands that new contractors could take over from as early as August. They will manage the transition to a new service and begin a four-year contract from January 2019 with the option to extend this by three years. Council Administrator Viv May commissioned reviews into council services, including garbage collection and council swimming pools, after taking over last year. The waste review, written by council officers, showed a marked preference towards outsourcing services to the private sector and argued that the council could cut its costs by 20 per cent through bigger contracts and reduced operating costs. Most of the council’s waste and recycling services are currently delivered by council garbos, apart from waste services in Woodville Ward, which used to come under Parramatta Council, and the recyclables collection in the former Holroyd Council area. Mr May has copped flak from former Holroyd Mayor Greg Cummings, as well as resistance from the United Services Union (USU), which represents local government workers in NSW. Mr Cummings said Mr May was ‘overstepping his responsibilities’ and driving changes through before the council went into caretaker mode in early August. “This is done at break-neck speed to make sure it’s done before an elected council can review it,” Mr Cummings said. “By all means collect the information and get a report but it should be there ready for the democratically elected council to review.” Mr Cummings said Mr May was known to be an enthusiastic advocate of outsourcing and had a track record in that area. Mr May spent 27 years as Mosman Council’s General Manager where he outsourced the council’s  outdoor work and reduced council employed outdoor workers from more than 100 to six. Mr Cummings also criticised the council for omitting diversion to landfill in the tender. He said that the former Holroyd Council had managed to divert 62 per cent of green waste from landfill using UR-3R alternative waste treatment plant in Eastern Creek. But Cumberland Council’s Group Manager, Roads and Waste Peter Fitzgerald defended the decision to go out to competitive tender. He said the council’s review estimated it would yield more than $16 million in savings and ensure a more consistent service. It would also finally give Woodville ward residents a green waste bin so they would no longer have to trek to the council’s depot. “Given that the existing contract for waste services in the Woodville ward expires in November this year council could not wait any longer to make a decision about the provision of waste services,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “Council must provide a consistent service to all residents irrespective of which part of the council area they live in.” He said around 34 council staff would be affected by decision. “All affected council staff have been assured that if they want a job with council they will still have a job with council, regardless of the decision to call tenders for these services,” Mr Fitzgerald said. Mr May told Government News in October last year that Administrators had the same powers as mayors and councillors and would make decisions accordingly.  The USU is not convinced and has come out against the outsourcing plans, arguing that service levels will drop and rates will rise. It led a public rally against Cumberland Council outsourcing in February. The USU website says of the tender: “We all know that private waste collection companies don’t care about ratepayers or the local community, they only care about one thin: delivering profit margins to their shareholders. “The contractors won’t have time to do missed services or go the extra mile by taking your bin in if you can’t. Yes, that’s what the hard working council garbos do for the community.” But disentangling the legacy of three different councils’ waste and recycling services will not be easy. The council will have to pay out staff redundancies and long service leave along with paying penalties on any contracts which are terminated early, some of which do not expire until 2020. The United Services Union has been contacted for comment. More to follow. [post_title] => Merged NSW council outsources rubbish and recycling before councillors elected [post_excerpt] => Union and ex-mayor enter fray. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27042 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-04 10:27:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-04 00:27:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27042 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26935 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-19 10:59:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:59:32 [post_content] =>
 
SafeWork NSW is waiving the five-day asbestos removal work notification period to allow immediate clean-up of asbestos debris from storm-damaged properties in north east NSW.Property owners in the Ballina, Byron Shire, Kyogle, Lismore and Tweed local government areas will have their assessments fast-tracked to ensure asbestos-containing material can be removed as quickly as possible. SafeWork NSW executive director, Peter Dunphy, urged residents to seek information on the potential risks of being exposed to asbestos and how to manage it safely when cleaning up after a storm or flood. “Flood-affected homes may contain asbestos materials which need to be safely managed and removed so that the health of the community is protected,” Dunphy said. “As the State Emergency Service assesses the damage and residents begin to clean-up or repair properties, we want them to be aware of the dangers.
  Read more here. This story first appeared in INCLEAN Magazine.  [post_title] => SafeWork NSW fast tracks asbestos assessments on flood damage [post_excerpt] => Managing the clean up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => safework-nsw-fast-tracks-asbestos-assessments-flood-damage [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:14:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:14:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26935 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26910 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-18 11:03:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:03:25 [post_content] =>   Local Government Excellence Awards Local Government Professionals NSW revealed the winners of its Oscars for local councils earlier this month. Full list below.  President LG Professionals, NSW Barry Smith said the awards recognised and showcased the pinnacle of excellence in the local government sector in NSW and significant achievements by NSW councils over the past year as well as the outstanding professional development achievements of our members. “Local government works hard for the communities in New South Wales, and we were thrilled that the Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister joined us in acknowledging the sector’s professionalism and dedication," Mr Smith said.   

Excellence in Innovative Leadership and Management

Recognising the use of superior management and leadership skills to achieve outstanding benefits for the organisation and/or for the community.   Winner: Tweed Shire Council Highly Commended: Lachlan Shire Council, City of Ryde Council Community Partnerships and Collaboration Recognising genuine and effective partnerships and collaborations that have resulted in better outcomes for council, as well as initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to working with and/or in the community to achieve positive outcomes.   Population over 15,000 Winner: Port Stephens Council Highly Commended: Blacktown City Council, Lake Macquarie City Council   Population under 15,000 Winner: Warrumbungle Shire Council Excellence in Local Economic Contribution Recognising innovation in leadership and management for a project/initiative that has enhanced the economic wellbeing of their local government area and increased the value proposition to ratepayers and residents, in parts or all, of their city, town, district or region.   Winner: Liverpool City Council Highly Commended: Lake Macquarie City Council Excellence in Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Recognising dedication to sustainability as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit to the environment.   Population over 100,000 Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Central Coast Council   Population under 100,000 Winner: City of Canada Bay Council Highly Commended: Byron Shire Council  

Special Project Initiative

Recognising leadership where an individual, team or council has developed a concept or practice that significantly improves the business in which they work, development of processes or practices that has had a major impact on the organisation or its customers. Population over 15,000 Winner: Lake Macquarie City Council Highly Commended: Central Coast Council, North Sydney Council   Population under 15,000 Winner: Hunter’s Hill Council  

Excellence in Community Development and Services

Recognising leadership in community services as evidenced by way of corporate process improvements, a particular project initiative, innovation in management and leadership practices or demonstrated practicality and resourcefulness. Winner: Canterbury-Bankstown Council Highly Commended: Cumberland Council

Excellence in Asset Management and Infrastructure Initiatives

Recognising excellence in Asset Management as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit in asset management. Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Wentworth Shire council

Excellence in Risk Management

Recognising the community and/or Council benefits (strategic, operational or financial) delivered through the identification, control and mitigation of risks within a council’s unique risk profile. Winner: Wollongong City Council Highly Commended: City of Canada Bay Council

Excellence in Creative Communities

Recognising excellence in bring together communities through art and cultural creative projects. Population over 15,000 Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Bega Valley Shire Council, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council   Population under 15,000 Winner: Narrabri Shire Council  

Excellence in Operational and Management Effectiveness

The Excellence in Operational and Management Effectiveness Award is open to all NSW councils who have participated in the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program. Winner: Willoughby City Council Dux of the Governance Intensive Course The Governance in Local Government Intensive Course has been developed to enhance the governance knowledge and skills of professionals working in the local government sector. Dux: Christine Priest, Wagga Wagga City Council Dux of the Finance Intensive Course Covering all aspects of local government finance this one week intensive residential course will benefit new finance managers, senior accounting and accounting officers or anyone with a financial background wishing to expand their knowledge of local government finance. Dux: Tracy Wilde, Sutherland Shire Council     NSW Environmental Excellence Awards Nominations are open for the NSW Environmental Excellence Awards, which celebrate councils and council staff who have done outstanding environmental work in the state. Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said local government was the closest level of government to communities and had the most direct influence on local environments. "But what is often forgotten is that local government is one of the biggest sectors in the NSW economy,” Mr Rhoades said. "Councils are responsible for maintaining and upgrading $142 billion in infrastructure and land assets, including parks, reserves, roads, community facilities and water and sewerage systems. He said the sector employed more than 50,000 people and injected $11 billion into the state's economy every year. "Combine that economic power with a commitment to environmental sustainability and best practice, and you have a sector making a very real contribution to the environment in NSW." There are 15 award categories, including the prestigious Local Sustainability Award for overall council performance and the Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability awarded to an individual. They will be announced on October 11 at the University of Technology Sydney and they cover projects and programs from January 2016 to May 2017. The prize for overall winner of the Local Sustainability Award is an overseas study tour or a professional development program for staff, valued at $10,000.  Individual councils, county councils and regional council groupings are all eligible to enter, and compete against similarly sized councils in one of three levels: populations of less than 30,000; between 30,000 and 70,000; and more than 70,000.  Nomination applications close on 31 May, with further details available on LGNSW's website National Reconciliation Week funding Councils have until the end of this week to apply for federal government funding to support celebrations for National Reconciliation Week, which runs from May 27 to June 3. Celebrations are particularly poignant this year with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Mabo High Court decision. The funding round closes on Friday 21 April 2017. President of the Australian Local Government Association, David O’Loughlin said councils can use the funding to partner with a local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community organisation to mark these two historic events through activities that honour and respect their significance to all Australians. “It is a great compliment to the sector that the Turnbull Government has chosen local councils as partners in celebrating this national milestone,” Mr O’Loughlin said. “I would hate to see any council miss out so I urge all councils to submit applications for this funding via the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.” Bill Shorten to address local councils Labor leader Bill Shorten will address this year’s National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) on Tuesday 20 June in Canberra. This week, the Opposition came out in support of ALGA’s call to end the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation agreeing that local government funding has been under pressure following the 2014-15 freeze. The party called on the Government to rule out any extension of the FAGs indexation freeze beyond 30 June 2017.   The NGA is the peak annual event for local government, attracting in excess of 800 Mayors and Councillors each year. Themed Building Tomorrow’s Communities, this year’s NGA will be held from 18 - 21 June. [post_title] => Around the councils [post_excerpt] => Full list of NSW Local Government Excellence Award winners. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-the-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 14:07:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 04:07:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26910 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26574 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-20 11:50:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-20 00:50:31 [post_content] =>   The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fitted GPS trackers onto vehicles suspected of illegally dumping building and demolition waste, including asbestos. NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the trackers were fitted after a covert EPA investigation into illegal dumping last year. The trackers are fitted on a 12-month trial basis - with the owners’ knowledge - and it is illegal for drivers or owners to remove or tamper with them. If the trucks are transporting waste lawfully after this time the EPA has said it will consider removing the GPS devices. Ms Upton said the GPS system enabled the EPA to track the vehicles’ movements, alerting the authority if trucks travelled near known illegal dumping hotspots. “The NSW government is serious about cracking down on illegal dumpers – trial results show the trackers fitted to vehicles has deterred illegal activity and won’t just deter those being watched but others who think they can get away with dumping on our communities and environment,” Ms Upton said. She said the EPA would consider using tracking devices to monitor other vehicles accused of transporting or dumping waste unlawfully once the trial was complete. An EPA spokesperson said that preliminary results showed the trial had acted as a deterrent to illegal dumping, resulting in waste being transported and disposed of at lawful facilities. Local councils count the cost The scourge of illegal dumping is a huge problem for NSW and also for local councils, who are often saddled with the clean-up. Illegal dumping can be a health hazard, contaminating public land and waterways and poisoning wildlife. Dumping can also hinder roadworks and bushfire protection and block emergency access during a fire. An EPA spokesperson said that cleaning up illegally dumped material was a significant cost for local communities, councils and public land managers. She said that data showed that one in 10 LGAs spent $500,000 or more on education, enforcement, clean-up and other illegal-dumping activities each year.  A 2004 EPA survey found that construction and demolition waste made up about 12 per cent of waste illegally dumped in NSW and this is just waste the councils deal with.     The NSW government introduced tougher laws in 2014, including the power to install trackers onto vehicles and the ability to seize vehicles used in dumping offences. The fines for flouting the rules are steep. The EPA can issue on the spot fines of up to $15,000 for corporations and $7500 for individuals. If the case goes to court, a judge can impose a maximum penalty of $1 million and/or seven years prion imprisonment if an offence is committed wilfully. Illegal dumping incidents can be reported by calling the Environment Line on 131 555 or through the RID online reporting portal at ridonline.epa.nsw.gov.au   Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => GPS trackers fitted to vehicles that dump illegally [post_excerpt] => Environment Protection Agency gets tough. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gps-trackers-fitted-trucks-dump-illegally [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-19 10:45:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:45:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26574 [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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Resource & Waste Management