New institutional changes for Victoria’s waste industry
Victoria’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, has advocated major structural and operational changes to regional waste management in the state.
These reforms are aimed at overcoming limitations with current processes and improving coordination between regional and state waste planners, while also bringing Victoria closer to the government’s own agenda for waste governance Australia-wide. These proposed changes have been welcomed by many in the waste and recycling industries.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) outlined 20 reforms for waste management and resource recovery in Victoria, covering aspects such as governance and procedural changes. The majority of these proposed reforms were supported by Ryan Smith’s government response, including:
• Consolidating the 12 existing regional groups into six “super regional waste groups” in addition to the Metropolitan Waste Management Group.
• Stronger integration between waste planning and land-use planning.
• Stronger integration of metropolitan waste and resource recovery implementation plans with longer term state-wide goals.
• Simplifying administration of landfill levy funds with the Sustainability Fund.
• Strengthening the role of Sustainability Victoria in market development and coordination of waste management programs as part of the government’s Getting Full Value initiative.
Role of the government
The government’s support for these recommendations will bring Victoria in line with its proposed 30-year plan for improving waste management infrastructure and resource recovery rates at regional, state and national levels. Under the new organisational structure, the government will be more closely involved with regional waste management groups, local governments and industry stakeholders, and will seek their experienced input to help manage these transitions and monitor their ongoing performance.
Response from the industry
The Victorian waste and recycling industries have welcomed these changes, which will remedy perceived problems with current waste management systems and highlight the importance of establishing effective waste management and resource recovery processes for communities and businesses. The reforms are also expected to attract investment and create more skilled jobs in the environmental sector in the long term.
The roles of Sustainability Victoria and metropolitan and regional waste management groups in the industry are more clearly defined under the revisions, improving certainty and confidence among industry professionals and investors. The reformed regional groups will also have more power to make recommendations and to procure services when needed.