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APC scopes sustainable waste management project in regional NSW

Mon 16 March 2015

Project groupIn March, the APC’s Litter Projects Officer travelled to Bourke in regional NSW along with 10 other agencies and organisations to undertake a scoping visit regarding a project proposal from Waste Aid.

Waste Aid, a registered non for profit charity was established in March 2014 and aims to reduce ill health caused by poorly managed waste in disadvantaged and remote communities, as well as improve social and environmental outcomes.

Waste Aid has established the NSW Sustainable Waste in Aboriginal Communities (SWAC) Reference Group comprising eight agencies and organisations including APC, NSW EPA, Aboriginal Affairs, Department of Health, Local Government NSW, NSW Aboriginal Land Council (ALC) and Resource Recovery Australia (RRA).

The objective of this project is to develop and trial a new sustainable waste management model for  Aboriginal communities to be piloted at Bourke and Enngonia, 850km NW of Sydney. The waste management model has a number of components, the first being the clean-up of legacy waste, including typically years of accumulated bulky waste, old motor vehicles, illegally dumped materials and litter. The team will then work with the communities to develop and implement an education program that is developed ‘with the community for the community’, install appropriate  infrastructure and waste  services will be procured. A unique aspect is the engagement of a community stewardship program, to build capacity within the community so they are able to take responsibility for cleaning up and maintaining their land. The final stages are negotiating a services agreement with the local council for future service provision.

A local steering groups is being formed to oversee the detailed project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation with the first session scheduled for 18 March.

About her trip, Cayley said, “It was very valuable as a project officer to visit Bourke and be involved in the project development process. Being able to see the problems first hand provided a great insight and will allow for more understanding throughout the life of the project”.

“Not only was it good to see the problems but it was just as important to see the level of commitment and enthusiasm by the numerous stakeholders involved, especially by the local Aboriginal representatives. They know there is a problem and have identified the need for outside help”.

Upon the successful implementation, Waste Aid will seek to replicate the model in other Aboriginal communities nationally.

The APC is currently funding another Waste Aid project to install cardboard balers into community stores in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote SA.

Engonnia Landfill

Engonnia Landfill - existing conditions (above)
Photos: Angus Northey

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