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In the face of recent international waste market disruptions, Australia’s waste management system needs a clear, nationally coordinated and forward-looking response. Recent decisions made by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) provide some clarity around national objectives on waste management, but more work is required by governments of all levels.

This paper seeks to build on and cut through the plethora of waste and circular economy strategies developed over recent years to provide a clearer path forward for energy recovery in Australia.

The paper calls for action across a broad range of energy recovery and advanced processing technologies. There is an explicit focus on energy-from-waste (EfW), as this form of energy recovery has faced distinct challenges in building community support and establishing clear rules to guide development of new facilities. By ensuring the full range of waste management options are considered, as well as setting a market and rules for their implementation, governments can unlock greater private investment and innovation to address Australia’s growing waste challenges.

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