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Frequently asked questions

The questions and answers below help to clarify aspects of annual waste and recycling reporting requirements under Part 3A of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Regulations 2008 (WARR Regulations). 

Liable persons will need to read and abide by the relevant CEO notice, which includes the information you are required to report and record and the procedures to follow.

The questions are categorised by topic. Subcategories are included, if relevant, for general questions and questions specific to the type of liable person.

Determining liability

General

1. How do we know whether our facility/local government is considered to be a ‘liable person’?

All local governments and regional councils are considered to be liable persons.

Recycling and reprocessing facilities are considered to be liable if:

  • they are the occupiers of a premises, whether or not the person holds a licence in respect of the premises
  • reportable waste, being solid waste as defined under Part 3A of the WARR Regulations, is treated, processed or sorted at the premises for the purposes of reprocessing, recycling or energy recovery
  • as a result of that treatment, processing or sorting, at least 1000 tonnes of reprocessed, recycled or recovered material is produced on site that is ready for use as a production input or final product, or is exported from the state. This does not include material sent to sites for further reprocessing.

Landfills are considered to be liable if they are outside of the metropolitan region, and receive more than 20 000 tonnes of waste per annum. This does not include waste produced and disposed on-site.

The ‘metropolitan region’ is defined in section 4(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2005 to mean the region described in Schedule 3 to that Act. To help determine if your facility is a ‘liable person’, see the relevant fact sheets.

2. Will we have to submit multiple returns if our facility is considered to have multiple liabilities?

Yes. (This would apply, for example, to a local government that also runs a non-metropolitan landfill that receives more than 20 000 tonnes of waste per annum.)

The online reporting system will enable you to submit multiple returns in a streamlined manner. You will need to determine whether your local government or facility must report information under more than one category of liable person.

3. How do we inform you that our facility is considered a ‘liable person’?

We will publish forms that will simultaneously enable you to register for the online reporting system and notify our CEO of your reporting requirements. These will be available on our website by June 2020.

Liable recyclers

4. Does recycled material stockpiled or otherwise used on-site count towards the 1000-tonne threshold?

Yes. If the stockpiled material is reprocessed in that specific financial year, it will count towards the threshold, regardless of whether the material leaves the site.

5. Does waste from primary industries recycled ‘in situ’ count towards the threshold?

Waste generated from primary industries that is recycled in situ does not count towards the 1000-tonne threshold. For example, you are not required to report in-situ forestry mulching.

6. Are charitable recyclers required to report for items received, processed and sold for reuse?

Charitable recyclers do not need to report activities such as the sorting and sale of unwanted items by charitable recyclers and op shops under the WARR Regulations. However, if a charitable recycler is carrying out other activities that meet the definition of a liable recycler, they will be required to report.

Liable non-metropolitan landfills

7. Does the threshold of 20 000 tonnes include waste generated on the premises?

No. Only waste received at a premises needs to be considered. Waste generated at the premises and subsequently disposed of at the same premises is not included in the reporting threshold of 20 000 tonnes.

8.Does the threshold include waste that's subject to the waste levy?

Yes. All solid waste received at the premises is included in the reporting threshold of 20 000 tonnes.

9.Does the threshold apply to individual non-metropolitan landfills?

Yes. The threshold is applied to individual non-metropolitan landfills, not to the total amount of waste received by multiple non-metropolitan landfills operated by the same person. 

For example, a regional city operates two category 89 landfills and one licensed category 64 landfill. The amount of waste received at each landfill in one financial year was: 4000 tonnes; 2000 tonnes and 16 000 tonnes. Across the three landfills, a total of 22 000 tonnes of waste was received. The regional city is not a liable person under the WARR Regulations because no individual landfill received more than the threshold of 20 000 tonnes of waste in that financial year.

Reportable waste

General

10. Do we need to report liquid waste?

No. Reportable waste refers to waste that is a solid matter only.

11. Do we need to report controlled waste?

You are required to report only solid controlled waste, such as tyres, asbestos and contaminated soils.

Liable recyclers

12. Are primary industries required to report waste that has been recycled 'in situ'?

There is no intent to capture waste from primary industries that is recycled in situ. For example, you do not need to report in-situ forestry mulching or agricultural waste, such as waste generated at poultry farms, pig farms and feedlots, if it is recycled on the same premises that it was generated.

You must report waste generated from primary industries that is removed from the premises and subsequently recycled. For example, manure from a poultry farm collected and transported to a premises with a category 67A licence and subsequently composted, must be reported by the licensee of the category 67A premises if that licensee is considered to be a ‘liable person’.

13. Do items sorted and sold for re-use need to be reported?

No. Items sold for re-use do not need to be reported. For example, items sold by op shops are excluded. Other examples of excluded items are used goods sold through online market places such as www.gumtree.com.au or ‘gifted’ goods through ‘Buy Nothing’ Facebook groups.

Liable non-metropolitan landfills

14. Does mining waste disposed of in liable non-metropolitan landfills, need to be reported?

All solid wastes received at a liable non-metropolitan landfill premises must be reported. Waste generated at a premises and subsequently disposed of at the same premises does not need to be reported and is not included towards the 20 000-tonne threshold.

Solid waste from mining activities, which may include overburden and tailings, received at liable non-metropolitan landfills, should be recorded under the material category ‘Other’ (for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories). Comments should specify the waste as ‘mining waste’. The waste stream of such types of waste should be recorded as commercial and industrial waste (C&I).

Stockpile measurement

General

15.Why is data about stockpiled waste required?

This data is required as stockpiled waste can have a significant impact on measuring progress against the targets in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 (Waste Strategy).

For the purposes of measuring against the targets, ‘waste generated’ is equal to the sum of ‘waste recovered’ and ‘waste disposed’. Stockpiled waste may be neither recovered nor disposed and these types of stockpiled wastes would otherwise not be considered to be waste generated. This can distort our measurements against the targets in the Waste Strategy.

Measuring the amount of stockpiled waste allows us to better quantify the actual quantity of waste generated in a financial year.

16.Our stockpiled waste was not measured at 1 July. How can we report the amount stockpiled at our premises at the start of the financial year?

Stockpiles should be measured as close to the beginning of the financial year as practical.

17.Do we need to use a licensed surveyor to measure the amount of waste stockpiled at our premises?

No. The approved processes in the CEO notice include several methods to measure stockpiled waste without using a licensed surveyor.

Special provisions for local governments with small populations 

(These are provided in the approved procedures in the relevant CEO notice)

Local governments

18. Why are there special provisions for non-metropolitan local governments with low populations?

Smaller local governments outside the metropolitan region may not have the resources or capability to report in accordance with the approved procedures. The special provisions for local government areas with populations of less than 5000 and less that 1500 provide for reduced record keeping and reporting requirements. They are provided to help smaller local governments meet reporting requirements under the WARR Regulations.

19.Our shire has a population of less than 1500. Will we have to report anything?

If a shire has a population of less than 1500 and can't report the quantities of waste it collects, recycles and disposes of to landfill, it can access the special reporting provisions. Under these provisions, the local government would only be required to report information about the types of waste and recycling services it provided to its residents. We would then estimate the tonnes of waste collected, recycled and disposed of based on the types of waste and recycling services provided.

20.Can we use our records to estimate the population of our shire?

The population will be determined as the 'estimated resident population' (ERP) in the latest release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics catalogue 3218.0 – regional population growth at 30 June of the year the return is due. The ERP for each local government will be provided in the approved form used for making the annual return.

No other methods can be used to determine the population of a local government for the purposes of reporting under the WARR Regulations.

Weighing waste

General

21.We do not have a weighbridge. How can we report the weight of waste received/collected/recycled/disposed?

The approved processes for government/landfill/recycling premises in the CEO notices include several methods to estimate the weight of waste without a weighbridge. Additionally, the online form will include a built-in calculator to convert volumes to weights.

22.Will our local government/landfill/recycling premises require a weighbridge?

The WARR Regulations do not require liable persons to have or use a weighbridge. However, we have consulted on proposed amendments to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Levy Regulations 2008, which would introduce the requirement for certain landfill premises to use weighbridges.

Waste levy

Liable non-metropolitan landfills

23.We already report data about certain wastes through our landfill waste levy return. Do we have to report this data twice?

With your permission, we may access certain data already reported to us for other purposes. You may still be required to report certain data to meet your requirements under Part 3A of the WARR Regulations.

24.Are the approved procedures in the WARR Regulations consistent with the waste levy approved manner?

If your landfill is receiving reportable waste subject to the waste levy, you must calculate your levy liability and keep records in a manner consistent with the requirements under the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Levy Regulations 2008 and WARR Regulations.

If vehicle volumes are used in calculating the waste levy, you must use the approved levy manner.

Local government census of waste and recycling services

Local governments

25.Will we still have to complete a waste census?

The annual returns submitted under the WARR Regulations will replace the waste census from 2020. The last waste census will be run in 2019.

26.How will the annual returns compare to the waste census?

The information required to be reported in the annual returns is detailed under Information Required for the Annual Return – Regulations 18C and 18D items 1 to 3 in the CEO notice. Items 1 to 3 replicate information requested in the waste census. Local governments will have the same or reduced reporting under the WARR Regulations when compared with the waste census.

27.The 'CEO notice' does not require us to collect data or report littering or illegal dumping. Should we still collect this data?

We would like you to continue to collect information about littering and illegal dumping in your local government area. We may ask you to report this information voluntarily in 2020. 

Any voluntary questions about littering and illegal dumping are likely to be the same as those in the 2018-19 waste census.

This could change. You may be required to report this information in future annual returns. We will consult with local governments before making any changes to the 'CEO notice'.