Waste not, want not – let’s not waste our waste
There are some exciting times ahead with the focus now well and truly on waste management, disposal and recycling.
There is now the potential for significant commercial return on investment through the development of innovative technology and changing our thinking about waste being waste rather than an untapped resource.
On 3 March 2021, the Commonwealth government released the National Plastics Plan 2021 which was developed in line with the 2019 National Waste Policy Action Plan to use waste as a resource. This has been followed by the Queensland Government’s Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Act 2020 which was passed on 13 March 2020 to ban single-use plastic items.
National Plastics Plan 2021
In March 2020, the first-ever National Plastics Summit was held and the National Plastic Plan 2021 (Plan) published by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment was to follow.
The Plan to attack plastics waste includes a focus on the manufacture and design of plastics, reduction and reprocessing, recycling and making some plastics compostable to avoid burdening landfills and the environment, particularly with single-use plastic items.
The timeline set out in the Plan is:
The Plan is also particularly looking at solutions for the collection and reprocessing of recyclable material which has always been an issue in regional areas given population size and the high cost to transport material to recycling facilities.
Relabelling packaging will be implemented so that consumers are educated on what is recyclable and compostable and how plastic waste should be disposed of. The Commonwealth is also supporting the development of new technologies to deal with plastic waste and recently awarded $1.9 million to an organisation that has developed technology to convert plastic waste into reusable material.
The Commonwealth Procurement Rules also now include a value for money or sustainability component which includes the use of recyclable materials in the products that it sources. This is part of the strategy for the circular economy hub where buyers and sellers of recovered resources can work together to reduce and recycle waste products including plastics and achieve a commercial return.
Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020
The Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020 (Bill), which passed on 13 March 2021 puts a further focus on the reduction of plastic waste and single-use items.
The Queensland Government had already implemented legislation to deal with plastics to a certain extent, including the ban on single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags which came into effect on 1 July 2018. The container refund scheme introduced on 1 November 2018 has also significantly reduced plastic waste into landfills by recycling plastic waste as a resource for repurposing.
By passing the Bill, with some amendments on 13 March 2021, single-use plastics such as straws, stirrers, plates, bowls, cutlery and polystyrene cups and takeaway containers, will be banned from 1 September 2021 with the option for other plastic products to also be banned in the future after further consultation with the public and industry.
Once proclaimed, it will be an offence to sell plastic plates and cutlery, stirrers and straws and polystyrene containers with a penalty of 50 penalty units or approximately $6,650 per item. Where a person sells a prohibited item to an exempt business, the onus of proof will be on the seller to establish that they had a reasonable belief that the buyer was an exempt entity that could buy and use the prohibited items. An exempt entity could include a school, a health care business or a service that provides single-use items to people with disabilities or other health care needs. Giving false information, e.g. stating an entity is exempt when it is not, is also an offence and 50 penalty units can apply as well.
Selling also includes providing single-use plastic items free of charge for a commercial or promotional purpose. For example, it will be an offence to serve a curry in a single-use plastic takeaway container or coffee in a polystyrene cup from 1 September 2021.
To encourage recycling and reuse, compostable plastic containers must also include labelling which gives the end user enough information to be able to dispose of the compostable container correctly. Failure to provide this information correctly or giving false information that a container is compostable when it is not could also attract a penalty of 50 penalty units per item.
Opportunities from waste
Not only has the Commonwealth and many state governments included the requirement for the use of recycled materials and other waste reduction strategies in their procurement policies, but all levels of government have made available significant funding for waste management reform.
The Commonwealth government has committed significant funding to numerous waste strategies, including the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) which is a commitment by the Commonwealth government of $190 million to develop new infrastructure to sort, process and repurpose materials including plastics. This funding will be rolled out to the states through the National Partnership Agreement on Recycling Infrastructure.
The Queensland Government itself is also providing $100 million in funding for the development of infrastructure and resource recycling markets to further facilitate the circular economy for waste.
Examples include partnering with communities to become plastic-free places, e.g. the Plastic Free Noosa program and investing in plastic recovery and processing infrastructure such as material resources facilities in regional areas. Incentivising the development of material resource facilities in regional areas through funding and grants should help to reduce the high cost of transporting recyclable plastic materials to other locations where there are facilities already operating. From 2020 onwards, the use of unnecessary plastic items in events sponsored by the Queensland Government will be limited as much as possible, likely through its procurement policies and tender processes.
What does this mean?
There are opportunities now to really focus on waste reduction and recycling with the potential for a commercial return in a way never seen before.
The Australian Government has adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal and is a signatory to the Basel Convention which deals specifically with plastic waste.
Our state governments are promoting similar themes about opportunities for the industry to develop innovative ways to deal with waste, to use waste as a resource rather than as a waste product heading to landfill and are providing funding and grants for the development of technologies for Australia to be leaders in the management of waste and particularly plastic waste given our proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.
The link to the Queensland government latest on opportunities for waste management can be found here.
How can we help?
Holding Redlich has expertise in the waste industry with experience in funding applications and approvals, environmental assessment, approvals and prosecution, the legislative framework for renewables and recyclable projects, contract review and dispute resolution.
Author: Eleanor Scott
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Bills and Papers
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Australian Securities and Investments Commission v TAL Life Limited (No 2)  FCA 193
CORPORATIONS – misleading or deceptive conduct
HIGH COURT AND FEDERAL COURT – jurisdiction of the Federal Court – power to award declaratory relief – whether Australian Securities and Investments Commission lacks standing to seek declaratory relief for breach of s 13(2) of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – judicial power of the Commonwealth – requirement for a “matter” – whether there is a “matter” before the Court – where parties to insurance contract agreed in settlement deed that contract was avoided ab initio ‑– whether ASIC lacks standing to seek declaratory relief for breach of s 13(2) of the Insurance
Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) ss 5, 21, 23; Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) ss 13, 11A, 11B, 75A(1); Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) s 78B
Martires v Endura Paint Pty Ltd (No 1)  FCA 178
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL - appeal from decision of Federal Circuit Court of Australia - appellant self-represented - procedural fairness - duty of judge to apprise appellant of rules of evidence and procedure - appellant presented with new evidence going only to credibility while being cross-examined at trial - appellant not told of right to object or ask for adjournment - possibility that outcome could have been different - appellant denied procedural fairness - appropriateness of ordering new trial - appeal allowed
Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) ss 102, 103, 106, 570; Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) ss 340, 341, 343, 344
Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999 (Cth) s 28; Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (NSW) r 51.53(1)
Martires v Endura Paint Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 179 (9 March 2021) – Appeal dismissed
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - application for judicial review of decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia - appeal from same decision already on foot - impermissible use of judicial review as an alternative to appeal - appeal having been granted, no decision to which certiorari may apply - application dismissed
King Eeducational Service Pty Ltd v Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (No 2)  FCA 183
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – application for stay of a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to affirm the respondent’s decision to refuse to renew registration, and of the respondent’s original decision – where Tribunal ordered stay of respondent’s original decision – whether the Tribunal’s decision came into effect notwithstanding the Tribunal’s stay of the original decision – whether Court can make an order under s 44A(2) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) with retrospective operation – whether stay should be granted unconditionally or on terms – stay granted with retrospective operation and on terms
Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) ss 15AA, 33(3); Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) ss 41(2) (3) and (6), 43(5A) to (5C), 44, 44(5), 44A(1), (2) and (4); Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth) s 15
Alison Sandy and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Freedom of information)  AICmr 7
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Leyonhjelm v Hanson-Young  FCAFC 22
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – whether s 16 Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 (Cth) or Art 9 Bill of Rights 1688 (UK) precludes court hearing evidence or determining whether particular words were spoken in proceedings in Parliament – where dispute about words said by member in Chamber in course of proceedings in Parliament – whether lawful for court to take evidence of member of Parliament for purpose of deciding whether or what words were spoken in proceedings in Parliament – whether s 16 or Art 9 precludes court determining as a fact whether and what words spoken in proceedings in Parliament
DEFAMATION – qualified privilege – whether statement outside Parliament relating to words spoken in proceedings in Parliament made on occasion of qualified privilege pursuant to s 30 Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) or the implied constitutional freedom of communication on government political matters – whether reasonable for publisher not to check own recollection of words spoken in debate before publishing matter complained of – where publisher politician and not professional journalist or commercial news media publisher
DEFAMATION – malice – whether publisher actuated by malice in publishing matters complained of pursuant to s 30(4) Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) – whether publisher intended to shame political opponent by gratuitous attack going beyond what reasonably necessary to express publisher’s views
Ahwang & Anor v Slatcher  QDC 40
ABORIGINALS - NATIVE TITLE TO LAND- Rights and Interests under traditional laws and customs - whether section 211 of the Native Title Act 2003 (Cth) applied - whether Native Title rights arose under than under the Act
CRIMINAL LAW – DEFENCE – HONEST CLAIM OF RIGHT – TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL HUNTING PRACTICES – Whether defence under s 211 of the Native Title Act 2003 (Cth) available- whether defence of honest claim of right was available at trial- whether defence disproved by the prosecution
Criminal Code 1899 Qld ss 1, 22; Justices Act 1886 Qld ss 43A, 222, 223, 225; Native Title Act 2003 Cth ss 211, 223, 224; Nature Conservation Act 1992 Qld ss 88, 160, 167
Christensen & Anor v Deputy State Coroner  QSC 38
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – REVIEWABLE DECISIONS AND CONDUCT – REVIEW OF PARTICULAR DECISIONS – where the applicant seeks judicial review of a Coroner’s directions that a witness be excused from giving oral evidence – where the witness is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and giving oral evidence would adversely impact the witness’ mental state - where the witness is instead directed to provide sworn answers in writing – whether the Coroner’s directions are liable to be quashed or set aside because the Coroner did not have the power to make the directions. Coroners Act 2003 Qld s 3, s 28, s 34, s 35, s 36, s 37, s 39, s 45, s 46, s 48; Judicial Review Act 1991 Qld s 29(2), s 51(1)
SS v Assistant Commissioner Marty Mickelson  QCAT 73
POLICE – INTERNAL ADMINISTRATION – DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL FOR MISCONDUCT – QUEENSLAND – whether behaviour amounts to misconduct - breach of domestic violence order – finding of guilt by magistrate. Crime and Corruption Act 2001 Qld s 219O, Schedule 1
Police Service Administration Act 1990 Qld s 1.4, s 7.4; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 17, s 18, s 19, s 20, s 24(1)(b), s 32
Brady & Anor v Commissioner of State Revenue  QCAT 521
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – revenue and taxation – whether ‘eligible transaction’ for first home owner grant – whether property previously sold as place of residence and therefore not a ‘new home’ – where previous contract of sale for vacant land – where property previously transferred as dwelling and attached dwelling notwithstanding previous contract of sale – where property thus sold as place of residence – where Parliament’s policy intent was achieved when home first bought and transferred
First Home Owner Grant and Other Home Owner Grants Act 2000 Qld s 5, s 6, s 10
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 20, s 23
Storry v Chief Executive of the Office of Fair Trading, Department of Justice and Attorney-General  QCA 30
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE – APPLICATIONS – where the applicant applied for a statutory order of review pursuant to s 48 of the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) – where the trial judge dismissed the application because it was out of time and an abuse of Court processes – where the applicant seeks leave to appeal the trial judge’s decision – where the applicant submits that the trial judge erred by failing to consider s 52 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) and the reasonable prospects of success – whether leave should be granted
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE – EVIDENCE – where the applicant seeks an order that the Court consider further ‘fresh evidence’ – whether the Court should allow that evidence to be relied upon by the applicant. Real Estate business trust accounts
Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 Qld ss 47, 61(7), 62; Judicial Review Act 1991 Qld ss 26, 48
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 52
van der Berg v WorkCover Queensland & Anor  QSC 28
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – POWERS OF COURTS UNDER JUDICIAL REVIEW LEGISLATION – OTHER ORDERS – where the applicant seeks a statutory order of review of the respondents’ decision to refuse the applicant’s claim for compensation – where the respondents’ seek a summary dismissal of the application pursuant to the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) – whether the applicant is a person aggrieved by the decision – where there was significant delay in bringing the application – where the matters in issue were considered and decided in previous proceedings
Judicial Review Act 1991 Qld s 13, s 20(2), 26, 48
Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 Qld s 108, Chapter 13, s 546A
Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021
Assent Act no: 21 Year: 2021 02 March 2021 - Amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to establish a mandatory code of conduct that applies to news media businesses and digital platform corporations when bargaining in relation to news content made available by digital platform services.
Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme and Other Measures) Bill 2020
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Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2021
04/03/2021 - Act No. 13 of 2021 as made
Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021
04/03/2021 - Act No. 12 of 2021 as made
Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme and Other Measures) Act 2021
04/03/2021 - Act No. 9 of 2021 as made
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918
10/03/2021 - Act No. 27 of 1918 as amended
Privacy Act 1988
10/03/2021 - Act No. 119 of 1988 as amended
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
09/03/2021 - Act No. 85 of 2002 as amended
Aged Care Act 1997
09/03/2021 - Act No. 112 of 1997 as amended
COAG Reform Fund Act 2008
05/03/2021 - Act No. 156 of 2008 as amended
Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code 2021
12/03/2021 - This instrument is an industry developed Australian Privacy Principle code that sets out how the Australian Privacy Principles are to be applied and complied with by members of the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations in the market and social research sector.
Australian Federal Police (Approval of Screening Devices) Instrument 2021
10/03/2021 - This instrument provides for certain breath alcohol screening devices to be “approved screening devices” for the use of tests permitted under the Australian Federal Police Act 1979.
Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme) Instrument 2021
09/03/2021 - This instrument prescribes arrangements relating to the Serious Incident Response Scheme for residential aged care, including flexible care delivered in a residential care setting.
Witness Protection (Complementary Witness Protection Laws) Declaration 2021
02/03/2021 - This instrument declares specified laws of States and Territories as complementary witness protection laws and repeals the Witness Protection (Complementary witness protection laws) Declaration 2011.
Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards 2021
02/03/2021 - This instrument repeals and replaces the previously published Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) Auditing Standards.
Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2021
01/03/2021 - This instrument provides Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants with a list of activities to choose from to complete their ongoing professional development obligations for 2021, including one compulsory activity.
Liquor (Artisan Liquor) Amendment Bill 2020
Stage reached: Passed on 9/03/2021
Public Health and Other Legislation (Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill 2020
Stage reached: Passes on 24/02/2021 Assent Date: 8/03/2021 Act No: 3 of 2021 Commences: see Act for details
COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021
Introduced by: Hon S Fentiman MP on 11/03/2021
Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 11/03/2021
Part 9 Amendment of Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Proceedings and Other Matters) Regulation 2020 - 22 Omission of pt 2, div 1 (Modification of Coroners Act 2003)
Part 13 Amendment of State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014
33 Amendment of sch 1 (Infringement notice offences and fines
Subordinate legislation as made – 12 March 2021
No 15 Proclamation No. 2—Corrective Services and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (commencing certain provisions)
No 16 Community Based Sentences (Interstate Transfer) Regulation 2021
Electoral and Other Legislation (Accountability, Integrity and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2020 (Qld)
The key policy objective of Chapter 2 is to improve the actual and perceived integrity and public accountability of State elections and ensure public confidence in State electoral and political processes
Commencement: (1)Chapter 2 commences as follows— Chapter 2 commences as follows— (b)section 22, to the extent it inserts new part 11, division 5, commences on 1 January 2022.
Subordinate legislation reminder
No 144 Electoral Amendment Regulation 2020
5 Amendment of s 8 (Amount of policy development payment to which eligible registered political party is entitled—Act, s 240) (1)Section 5 commences on 1 January 2022.
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