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Tag Archives: Victoria

Grant opportunities in New South Wales and Victoria

The NSW government has announced four grants available to improve recycling and waste services.  

> Organics Infrastructure: $6 million is available to support the processing of organic waste. This grant is available to local businesses, councils and projects that upgrade, build and expand organics processing infrastructure. Applications close October 21.

> Organics Collection: $12 million is available to support councils and regional organisations tied to councils to divert FOGO waste from kerbside collection. Applications close October 28.

> Circular Solar Grants: $7 million is available for government organisations councils research organisations, industry and not for profits for the development of innovative schemes that recycle and battery waste and solar panels. Applications close November 4.

> Litter Prevention Grants: $2 million is available for community litter reduction projects and schemes. These initiatives could include cigarette butt bin installations or community clean up days. Applications close November 8.

Round two of Innovation Fund grants open for applications in Victoria

In Victoria funding is available to support collaborative projects that aim to design out waste, improving both economic and environmental outcomes. Applications for both streams are open for projects that emphasize action within all phases of a resources’ lifecycle, promoting circular economy initiatives.

The two streams of funding available are:

>Stream One: Textiles Innovation: Between $75,000 – $150,000 of funding is available per project. Grants are available for projects which have a focus on preventing textile waste. Applications are open to industry groups, businesses, charities and research institutions.

> Stream Two: Collaborative Innovation: Between $150,000 and $250,000 of funding is available for each project. Grants are available to businesses, industry groups, charities and research institutions. Projects must have a collaborative focus on preventing waste from multiple organisations within a specific region, supply chain or sector.

The closing date for both Victorian grants is Monday 15th of November at 11:59pm.

New environmental laws in Victoria from July 1 2021

EPA Victoria will have increased powers from 1 July 2021 to prevent harm to public health and the environment from pollution and waste. 

The laws include sweeping changes which transforms EPA powers and requirements for business owners and operators. It is the responsibility of all business directors and managers to understand the new laws and how to comply. It is also your responsibility to make sure all employees understand requirements under the new laws.

One of the more pivotal and central changes is the introduction of the General Environmental Duty (GED). The GED is all-inclusive, applying to all businesses in Victoria, irrespective of size or type of operation. In short, under the GED, all Victorian businesses and organisations must take action to protect the environment and human health.

For many businesses in Victoria environmental risk management is already embedded into everyday operations, and the GED should require minimal change. However, now is the time to review systems against the new laws and be confident of compliance. It will be important to keep risk registers and risk management plans up to date and:

>Ensure environmental risk of pollution to land, air or water is assessed for all business activities.
>Action plans are in place to eliminate or control risks.
>Actions are implemented in a timely manner, and effectiveness monitored.
>Keep documented records of risk assessments and action plans to demonstrate

EPA Victoria provides guides and tools to help businesses comply with the GED, including:

>EPA Self-Assessment Tool – for supporting small business with action planning
>Assessing and Controlling Risk Business Guide – risk management framework for business
>Managing low risk activities
guidance for businesses with low risk, e.g. offices, cafes, retail.

Considerations for Victoria’s single use plastic ban

Earlier in March, the Victorian Government announced a phase out ban of single use plastics by 2023. This includes products such as polystyrene containers, straws, plates, cutlery and cotton buds, with departments starting their phase out in 2022. Single use plastic items make up approximately one third of Victoria’s litter per annum, with many of the single use items classified as economically unviable or difficult to recycle. The government is encouraging reusable items instead of single use plastics, such as metal, paper or bamboo alternatives. Emergency services, scientific and medical activities that may require single use plastic will not be affected.

The government proposes to work with communities and stakeholders to finalise the delivery and design of the ban, emphasising the importance of education and behavioural change as a key aspect in achieving a phase out.

Equilibrium has worked extensively on packaging and problem wastes, leading a similar project with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to improve the environmental impacts of packaging. Through exploration of this sector, there is a need to consider the following when delivering and the designing the ban:

> What is the evidence of defining single use plastic and prioritising any phase out? It is paramount to ensure an evidenced-based approach to definitions, criteria setting and identifying potential approaches to phasing out materials.
> Have the potential subsidiary outcomes been considered? For example, the reduced access to products for vulnerable sectors of the community? In this case, the hospitality industry has already cautioned that the ban may place the cost of the alternatives on the consumers.
>Whether there are appropriate viable alternatives, and what are the environmental impacts of using and or producing alternative products such as metal and bamboo cutlery?
>The scope of the ban, will support range from innovation right through the supply chain? To achieve genuine environmental improvement, support needs to start with manufacturers, brand owners and product retailers.

New EPA Regulations for Victoria 2020

Major reforms to Victoria’s Environment Protection regulations represent a major transformation to how EPA Victoria will operate to protect public health and the environment.

In July 2020, the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 will come into effect and it represents a major shift in the regulations and their state- wide application. The key elements of the Act cover the following themes:

> Prevention
> Flexible and risk-based
>
Transparency
>
Justice

General environmental duty

General environmental duty (GED) is a key focus and a new concept under the Act. The EPA’s definition for GED is:

“A person who is engaging in an activity that may give rise to risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste must minimise those risks, so far as reasonably practicable”.

The EPA talks about a three-step process to comply with GED:

1. The duty holder needs to understand the risks that pollution or waste from their activities might present to human health or the environment.
2. The ways those risks can be controlled need to be identified and understood.
3. Duty holders are required to put in place any reasonably practicable measures to reduce the likelihood of the possible harm arising.

The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 involves various other requirements that will affect businesses and industry. More information is available via the EPA Victoria website.

Equilibrium will be assisting its clients across diverse industries and sectors to comply with the Act. We will continue to unpack the Act and share our observations in future blogs. If you have any questions about the  changes, please contact the team at Equilibrium:

Nick Harford on 0419 993 234 or Damien Wigley on 0404 899 961.

For our previous post on the Victorian EPA, visit here.

Funding for resource recovery and recycling

Several government grant programs targeting resource recovery, recycling and associated activities are currently open or imminent, and worth reviewing in more detail.

A combination of recurring annual programs as well as funding triggered by the China National Sword Policy, are providing opportunities for a diverse range of projects from machinery and infrastructure, through to feasibility studies and market development.

Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have announced programs that will be of interest to councils, regional groups, businesses and social enterprises.

The following snapshot outlines several grant programs by State and funding focus.

Queensland

Detailed information is available here.

$100 million program for industry development

The Queensland Government has announced a $100 million funding program to work with business and local councils to develop a high-value resource recovery industry.

The funding will target three areas of focus:

> Infrastructure or machinery up to $5 million on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

> Incentives for the development of new large-scale facilities.

> Support for advanced feasibility studies for innovative resource recovery and waste management projects.

The funding program is planned to open later in 2018.

New South Wales

Detailed information is available here.

Product Improvement Program – Round 1
The Product Improvement Program provides industry an opportunity to identify new uses and markets for recyclable materials, and to develop local processing and remanufacturing capability to help ensure recycling services are maintained in future years. $4.5 million has been allocated to the first round of the program. Individual grants of $50,000 to $1 million are available to fund up to 50% of the capital costs for equipment and infrastructure.

Circulate, Industrial Ecology Program– Round 3
The Circulate program offers grants of between $20,000 and $150,000 to fund innovative, commercially-oriented industrial ecology projects that focus on the commercial and industrial (C&I) and construction and demolition (C&D) sectors in NSW. Circulate supports projects that will recover materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill, to be used as feedstock for other commercial, industrial or construction processes. Changes have been made to this round to include projects that deal with solid waste and materials not only diverted from landfill but also materials impacted by China’s National Sword Policy. A total of $2.5 million in funding is available in Round 3.

Civil Construction Market Program – Round 1
The Civil Construction Market Program offers grants of up to $250,000 to eligible organisations to promote the use of waste from one civil construction project as a useful input into another. This program aims to reduce the amount of C&D waste being sent to landfill, reduce the amount of C&D material being stockpiled and to promote innovative resource recovery activities in the NSW Civil Construction sector. Source materials have now been broadened to include glass, paper, cardboard and plastics from MRFs in NSW civil construction projects. This change is designed to help drive end markets for post-consumer recyclate. A total of $2.5 million in funding is available in Round 1.

Victoria

Detailed information is available here.

The Research and Development Grants Program supports the aims of the Victorian Market Development Strategy for Recovered Resources to stimulate markets for the use of recovered resources, increase job creation, develop quality products for end markets, and increase investment in products made from recovered resources.

The program will support the identification of markets that have the potential to use significant and consistent volumes of recovered materials.

In May 2018 a new round of $2.5m R&D grants funding was announced. The funding will provide research institutions and industry the opportunity to undertake R&D projects such as field trials that explore alternative and more value-added uses of priority waste materials. These materials include organics, rubber (tyres), e-waste, plastics, glass fines, concrete and other emerging priority materials.

The grants are expected to open in July 2018.

The Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund valued at approximately $13 million aims to support the development of infrastructure that improves the collection and processing of recycled materials. The program seeks innovative projects that will increase jobs in the resource recovery industry while also increasing the recovery of priority materials. Projects must be completed by 31 March 2021.

The Fund began in 2017 and to date two funding rounds have awarded approximately 27 infrastructure projects in metro and regional Victoria with over $9 million. The Round 1 and Round 2 projects supported so far are expected to create over 140 jobs in Victoria’s waste and resource recovery sector and are expected to divert at least 500,000 tonnes of material from landfill each year. More information about the Fund’s achievements and progress to date is below.

Round 3 Grants – Applications Open

Round 3 has up to $3 million available for infrastructure grants. Projects located in and servicing Victoria can apply for between $40,000 and $500,000 in funding for infrastructure development. Infrastructure can be for collection, sorting or processing.

Round 3 is seeking projects that target food organics, rigid and soft plastics, paper and cardboard, and e-waste re-processing as priority materials. However, projects addressing the future resource recovery infrastructure needs and opportunities identified in the Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plans developed by the Waste and Resource Recovery Groups (WRRGs) will also be supported.

It’s important to register your interest to apply to receive the relevant documentation to submit your proposal by 3pm, 31 July 2018.

More information

Contact Damien or Nicholas for more information about how Equilibrium can assist with grant and funding applications:

Nicholas Harford
Mobile: 0419 993 234 or nick@equil.com.au

Damien Wigley
Mobile: 0404 899 961 or damien@equil.com.au

 

 

 

Emerging environmental compliance in Victoria

The need for business transition

Protecting the environment is a major area of activity for governments and business, particularly as we face complex pollution and waste management issues that can affect human health and sensitive ecosystems.

The Victorian Government has been working systematically to modernise the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in order to meet Victoria’s environment and human health challenges. The government response to the EPA Inquiry details the suite of reforms for the overall transformation of the EPA to a world class environmental regulator. It is important to note that these are the first major reforms since the EPA was formed in 1971.

The implementation of the reforms seeks to ensure that the:

> EPA will protect Victorians’ health and their environment, preventing and reducing harmful effects of pollution and waste.

> EPA will deliver efficient, proportionate and consistent regulation which is vital for economic prosperity by ensuring Victoria is an attractive place to invest, work, live and visit.

In many respects, the reforms establish a stronger emphasis on preventing environmental harm and foreseeable hazards and risks.

Figure 1. Summary of the EPA reforms and business regulation
The need for businesses to be prepared

The process highlights the on-going need for businesses to identify compliance issues and risks and be ready to transition to new requirements in a timely and considered manner.

The Victorian Environment Protection Act has now been updated and includes new provisions for governance arrangements.

The reform agenda will also bring about significant changes as to how businesses and organisations will be regulated in regard to environmental risk. A key change is the introduction of a ‘General Duty’ that will be used to strengthen EPA capability to prevent environmental harm.

The introduction of a General Duty will involve the use of ‘Codes of Practice’, an approach that is already widely used within Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation and regulation. For example, in Victoria OHS Law and Code of Practice provides practical guidance on how to comply with relevant regulation. The VIC EPA now makes it clear that this approach provides a preferred model to apply in regard to environmental regulation in Victoria.

Adherence to Codes of Practice will certainly involve sites that require EPA Licensing and Works Approvals. Beyond such sites, the VIC EPA is looking to create a register of businesses with activities that have a regulatory significance.

Initially the register may be based on the dangerous goods notifications register managed by WorkSafe, which could involve up to 2,800 businesses. The EPA is also looking to register other businesses that have a potential higher risk profile, examples of which include dry cleaners, electroplaters, petrol stations and non-intensive agricultural businesses.

The range of activities requiring works approvals and licensing is also set to be expanded. The current recommendations involve potentially expanding licensing to:

> Waste companies
> Recyclers
> Transfer stations
> Agriculture based businesses

The EPA has put in place a five-year strategy to implement the reform recommendations.

Guidance and support for businesses

Helping companies to be prepared and ready for the reforms is an essential part of the process.

Equilibrium is well positioned to support businesses to assess and prepare for impending regulatory changes. Our depth of experience relating to environmental and OHS risk management is at the forefront when it comes to identifying and preventing harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste.

Equilibrium’s knowledge of risk analysis and developing risk management strategies is founded on working to meet compliance requirements of Environmental and OHS regulations across Australia. Our experience covers leading projects across Australia.

Regular updates on reform implementation program are available at https://engage.vic.gov.au/reform-epa

More information

Contact Nicholas Harford for more information about Equilibrium’s services and how we can support your readiness for the reforms:

Nicholas Harford
Mobile: 0419 993 234  or  nick@equil.com.au