Truck crushing bricks

Waste not, want not: Valuing waste as a resource’ (Discussion Paper) was released in September by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). The paper addresses two key changes to the current legislative framework, by proposing amendments to the definition of ‘waste’ and introducing  ‘waste-derived materials determinations’ (WDM Determinations).

This Discussion Paper builds on an issues paper of the same name released in June 2019 and accounts for feedback received on that paper.

Notably, the Discussion Paper proposes an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) to empower the Chief Executive Officer of the DWER to grant WDM Determinations. A WDM Determination will specify circumstances in which a waste-derived material would cease to be waste and would therefore not attract the waste levy.

Two types of WDM Determinations are proposed:

  • general WDM Determinations for common waste-derived materials for which contaminant thresholds are known; and
  • WDM Determinations issued on a case-by-case basis for specific people or operators.

WDM Determinations would be subject to conditions. A right of review of these conditions is proposed. The right of review would be to the Appeals Convenor.

No right of review is proposed for a refusal to grant a WDM Determination or for third parties.

To allow for the above, the definition of waste in the EP Act, Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 and Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Levy Act 2007 is also proposed to be amended to include materials that are wholly or partly comprised of waste, or wholly or partly derived, recovered or produced from waste, unless that material is used in accordance with a WDM determination.

The Western Australian Government is currently seeking submissions on the proposed framework. The submission period closes on 18 December 2020.