The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), representing the state’s waste and recycling industry, is working to develop a comprehensive package to support members tackle the challenges faced by operators across the country, especially rising legal and insurance costs.
Victorian Energy & Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio with VWMA President Chris Ryan (left) and Executive Officer Mark Smith
The package was launched earlier this week at the VWMA State Conference, which was also attended by Victorian MPs Nick Wakeling (Shadow Environment Minister), Huong Truong (Greens Spokesperson for environment) and Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Amborsio, addressed delegates about the Victorian Government’s waste agenda including the recently announced $37 million Recycling Industry Strategic Plan, the broader challenges for the sector and Environment Protection Reform.
Responding to member’s concerns around staggering increases to insurance premiums and navigating increasingly complex and changing regulatory environment, the VWMA has begun work to develop a package of support to tackle rising insurance costs for their members.
Experts across a range of disciplines including regulation, social research, insurance and communications and marketing endorse an approach led by associations and speak to the benefits in tackling these challenges as a collective, which is one of the ways industry associations can provide greatest benefit to its members.
Through the resources of the Association, a bold and clear path forward can be forged for how the waste and resource recovery industry (and increasingly the circular economy sector) can tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Currently, the sector is reacting to the changing regulatory environment around fire risk and management, however the VWMA proposes to build capacity and capability across the sector so collectively these risks can be managed together. It will be an approach that is about translating the complicated regulatory environment to “what does this mean for my business or my site”.
The package will include four core components:
Training, tools and resources
Focused on building the capability and capacity of our members to identify and manage risks at their sites and will include fit for purposes approaches based on the size, material types or other considerations specific to a site.
Information, webinars and access to experts
Provide information, workshops and webinars on topics and issues of relevance or immerging threats/challenges to the sector
Ongoing support around legal compliance to help navigate an increasingly complicated regulatory environment
Communication and engagement package
Engagement with stakeholders outside the sector about what we are doing to tackle issues around stockpiling and fire management including engagement with insurance companies, landlords, industrial parks,
Comments attributable to VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith:
At our State Conference we heard from insurance experts who advocated for industry approaches to the challenges facing the sector. Rising insurance costs are currently a universal problem plaguing operators across the country.
We do have a path forward on how we can tackle these problems. The role of the Association over the coming months will be to socialise and build support for the package and we are keen to hear from anyone who wants to add value to this discussion.
The VWMA has been engaged with other state associations and the NWRIC around this package and has received support for what we’ve proposed. If successful, the package is something that could be rolled out nationally, benefiting waste and recycling operators in other states.
Perceptions are that we don’t manage stockpiles effectively, which we don’t believe is true. These are complicated problems and many stakeholders (outside our sector) have a role to play, including landlords, councils and insurance companies. We need talk and work with others to change perceptions of our sector. This package is going to meaningfully start those conversations.
We are optimistic the Government sees value in industry led approaches to tackling these challenges. It’s about a shared responsibility and we’ll take this formally through relevant government agencies.