66 months until 2030 - WALGA's Waste & Environment Summit

Published on:
Friday, 7 June, 2024
66 months until 2030 - WALGA's Waste & Environment Summit

'The world needs to decarbonise, and it needs to decarbonise at pace,’ reflected Emily Briggs, Deputy Director General, Climate and Sustainability, with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). Briggs was speaking at the 2024 WALGA Waste & Environment Summit. Briggs went on to say that it is just ‘66 months until 2030’, a key date for net-zero targets. The WA Government has committed to reducing government emissions by 80 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030.

The Summit took place over two days in Northam in late May 2024. The event program was divided into three streams: waste management, biosecurity and biodiversity. On the first day experts from the waste and environment sector presented to a packed Northam Town Hall, and on the second day Local Government Councillors and officers toured local waste facilities and environment features.

Some of the highlights include: 

Deborah Moody from Ballardong Aboriginal Corporation gave a Welcome to Country. The Hon Darren West, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Action, delivered an opening address.

Jacky Jurmann, Manager of Planning and Environment with the Shire of Northam, spoke about some of the wins the summit hosts have had lately, including obtaining a Gold Waterwise status, carbon footprint monitoring, transitioning to EV, and giving away 10,000 native trees to residents. 

Kelly Howlett, from the Waste Authority, spoke of the Waste Authority’s vision for ‘a sustainable, low-waste future powered by a circular economy’ and outlined their strategic priorities, including better outcomes for regional and remote communities waste infrastructure. She encouraged everyone to comment on the recently released Draft State Waste Strategy.

The Hon Sheila McHale and Tim Cusack, Chair and CEO of Containers for Change, spoke about the massive success of the project, with over 3.2 billion containers recycled through the Scheme, since  its inception in 2020. McHale explained, ‘We’re doing really well in glass and aluminium. We need to focus attention on PET.’ PET is a type of plastic. Glass recovery rates are high because most glass products are consumed at home whereas 60% of PET is water bottles which are consumed on-the-go. 

Dr Mia Carbon, Deputy Director General Sustainability and Biosecurity, with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), delivered the sobering news that in 2023, WA faced 10 biosecurity incursions. 

Belinda Walker, Director Native Vegetation, DWER, spoke to the challenges the wheatbelt region faces when it comes to the clearing of native vegetation, ‘It’s a complex balance between road safety and maintenance and the important values of unique biodiversity within the wheatbelt region.’

Kylie Tame from Ballardong Aboriginal Corporation raised an interesting problem that many of us hadn’t considered, that of feral pigs destroying artefact scatters, the material remains of past Aboriginal people’s activities, in Wandoo National Park. Tame was in luck because her fellow presenter Hugo de Vos, Executive Manager Development and Regulation with the Shire of Toodyay, presented on the Shire’s feral pig intervention. 

An expert First Nations person talking to a Local Government Officer to find a solution to a feral pig threatening a National Park captures the point of the Summit perfectly—to build networks for best practice across the waste and environment sectors of Local Government.

Given that it is only 66 months until 2030, the importance of knowledge exchange and relationship building can not be understated. 

This event was delivered by WALGA and proudly supported by the Shire of Northam, Waste Authority of WA, Containers for Change WA (WARRRL), Avon Waste, and Cooee Waste Facility Data Solutions. 

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