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Key points on COAG export bans

One of the most interesting Coffs Waste sessions this year was the COAG panel discussion addressing the forthcoming export bans on glass, plastics, paper and tyres where Minister Trevor Evans made a number of interesting key points.

By Dimitris Dimoliatis, MRA Consulting Group

Image from COAG 2020

With the Coffs Waste conference moving online, MRA has had the opportunity to attend more sessions than ever through both live and recorded webinars.

One of the most interesting ones was the COAG Panel Discussion between the Hon Trevor Evans (Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management), David Clancy (Cleanaway), Jim Fairweather (ResourceCo) and Richard Macchiesi (Visy). Gayle Sloan, the CEO of WMRR, coordinated the discussion.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) export bans on glass, plastics, paper and tyres dominated the session with Hon Trevor Evans making a number of key points including:

  • The Export Bans were not announced prior to the election. They were a decision after the election.
  • Export Bans only affect 6% of the materials being processed by Australian Waste/Recycling industry.
  • Only 10% of the tonnes actually exported will be impacted by the ban (refer Figure 1).
  • The ban creates a significant need for local infrastructure.
  • COAG wants to help fund the necessary infrastructure. Funding announcements are to come.
  • Funding for the export ban is a parallel process to the broader infrastructure needs for Australian recycling but not sufficient.
  • Export ban funding Modernisation Fund – 1:1:1 Commonwealth, State and proponent. States taking the lead on specific needs and proponents. Commonwealth has entered into “in principle” agreements with the States, which have not yet been announced.
  • This is about the new economy we want to build post COVID19.
  • Mixed paper 1 July 2024 ban – States and Commonwealth to meet again to shortlist projects.
  • Nationally consistent waste data agreed by COAG.
  • Nationally agreed Procurement of recycled content – (note however that the Commonwealth is only “allowing” recycled content to be considered as part of the sustainability score in decision making. It is not mandating it).
  • Definitions are still being refined (refer Table 1).
Figure 1 Material volumes – total exported wastes and material in scope of the ban
Table 1 Definitions and timeframes for materials in scope of the export ban

The full discussion is available as a recorded webinar. The figure and table were provided by Gayle Sloan (full document available here).

As always, we welcome your feedback on this, or any other topic on ‘The Tipping Point’.


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