Today the Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science, and Resources announced it will hold an inquiry into Australia’s waste management and recycling industries.
This brings to an end the Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce’s threatened detour on the hobby-horse of nuclear energy – a frolic that consisted of a single ‘roundtable’ hearing.
But why do we need yet another inquiry when the current waste crisis demands action now?
Barely a year ago (June 2018) the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee reported on its inquiry into Australia’s waste and recycling industry. Its report, ‘Never waste a crisis’, made 18 recommendations. The Government has not responded to the report.
The inquiry recommendations included:
We continue to wait for the Government’s review of the Product Stewardship Act, for which consultation finished in June 2018.
On 9 August the Prime Minister said that the December COAG meeting would settle a timeline for the end of waste exports. On 13 October the Prime Minister announced that COAG meeting had been cancelled.
The record of the Government so far is not of waste reform, but of time-wasting.
The Government needs to stop talking rubbish and get on with implementing the reforms that have been identified by previous inquiries, reviews and strategies.