The Victorian Government is developing a circular economy policy and action plan for Victoria to be released late 2019.
In a circular economy, people minimise waste and make the most of resources. Shifting to a more circular economy would grow the economy, increase jobs and reduce impacts on the environment.
The City of Ballarat is ambitious to be a leader in the Circular economy, which is backed by a strategic approach to recycling, energy recovery, waste management and sustainability.
New energy is at the heart of Council’s strategy, with an improved, value-add approach to recycling; development of a Waste to Energy (energy recovery) facility, an associated Waste Education Facility, an all waste interchange and a waste recovery facility.
City of Ballarat aims to lead the State with a fully integrated end-to-end waste management system that extracts maximum value from waste through a waste to energy plant; delivering savings and efficiencies, reducing waste to landfill, driving innovation and growing an emerging industry.
Reducing, reusing and recycling will be bywords as City of Ballarat works to turn municipal waste into a productive resource which provides a secure energy supply for business (waste to energy). Waste will no longer be seen as an expensive liability, it will become a valuable resource.
Council states that it has long been pro-active in the waste management and energy security space: lobbying state and federal governments to secure support for an all waste interchange facility (AWIF); for release of funding from Victoria’s Sustainability Fund and a government commitment to a zero EPA landfill levy for waste to energy facilities, to ensure a positive investment environment for the private sector.
However, however it adds that the State Government policy vacuum that exists in the new energy space means Council needs to temporarily put on hold the delivery of a waste to energy facility for Ballarat.
Council’s frustrations in this regard were validated by the 6 June release of the Victorian Auditor General’s report Recovering and Reprocessing Resources from Waste which is highly critical of the responsible authorities (DEWLP, SV, EPA) which it says have “failed to respond strategically to waste and resource recovery issues”.
The City of Ballarat’s exclusive Heads of Agreement period with Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) for a due diligence study for a Waste Recovery facility at the Ballarat West Employment Zone has now expired and Council on Wednesday night voted to hold off any action until after the State Government presents its Circular Economy Policy and Action Plan, expected in late 2019.
“We’ve decided not to take any immediate action until after the State Government presents its Circular Economy Policy Paper and Action Plan which is expected later this year,” City of Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said.
“We believe there needs to be support for a long term solution and that this Circular Economy Policy Paper and Action Plan needs to be fast tracked.
“We feel the State Government is currently in a policy void in terms of the Circular economy and we think we need to press pause while they decide what they wish to do in this space.
“I want to stress this is just delaying a Waste to Energy course of action, not ending it.
“We are just putting the project on hold while the State Government puts some policies on the table that help guide us in what we can and can’t do in this space.”