The South Australian Government is committed to maintaining the state's reputation as a leader in resource recovery by providing the right settings to attract investment, drive innovation and create jobs.
Since 2015, the EPA has embarked on a substantial waste reform program aimed at establishing a robust regulatory environment to support the sustainable operation of the waste and resource recovery industry by seeking to:
- minimise the risk of environmental harm occurring
- support the highest and best, safe available use of secondary materials in accordance with the waste management hierarchy
- provide more certainty and fairness for lawful operators, promoting investment, innovation and growth of the sector
- stamp out illegal operators
- obtain levy revenue due to the South Australian Government.
The EPA has worked closely with key stakeholders in formulating key waste reform priorities, including through a Waste Summit and discussion paper, Reforming waste management – creating certainty for an industry to grow in 2015, and stakeholder workshops in 2016.
Direct engagement has been occurring and continues via regular meetings of the EPA Chief Executive’s Waste Reform High-Level Advisory Group and the complementary Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) Industry Reference Group.
Waste reform achievements to date and further priorities still under development are outlined below.
The EPA is now considering its next steps to further support continued growth in the waste management and resource recovery sector.
Achievements to date
The EPA has successfully delivered on many of its waste reform priorities to date, including:
- Commencement of the Environment Protection (Waste Reform) Amendment Act 2017 on 28 November 2017, in order to modernise and strengthen powers under the Environment Protection Act 1993 (EP Act) to better support a strong, legitimate resource recovery sector and improve the EPA’s ability to prosecute illegal dumping cases.
- Administrative changes to prescribed activities of environmental significance under Schedule 1 of the EP Act.
- Implementation of effective stockpiling controls, including development of an information sheet Financial assurances and stockpiling – who, when, what and how much. Consultation on the information sheet occurred between 21 August and 21 October 2019, with feedback used to finalise the EPA’s approach.
- Development of a position statement on Thermal energy from waste activities to provide clarity and certainty for industry on the regulation of these activities. Consultation on a discussion paper took place in 2017, with feedback from consultation used to finalise the position statement.
- Administrative and training reforms to effectively recovery illegally obtained economic benefit arising from breaches of the EP Act.
Waste reform priorities underway
A number of key waste reform priorities are in the final stages of implementation, including:
Mass balance reporting
From 1 July 2021, mass balance reporting will require certain facilities to report monthly on movements of waste and other matter. Please see the mass balance report page for further information and updates.
Amended manner of collection of levy at landfills
The current waste levy regulations do not explicitly envisage and cater for resource recovery processing and onsite use of recovered materials at landfill sites and how waste levy should be collected in such circumstances. The current lack of clarity provides opportunities for operators to avoid payment of the levy through various undesirable means to achieve an unfair competitive advantage.
Industry consultation was undertaken between 21 August and 21 October 2019 on an Explanatory report and draft legislation proposing amendments to the Environment Protection Regulations 2009 and Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010. Feedback from the consultation period is now being considered in finalising proposed amendments, which are proposed to commence on 1 December 2021.