The Western Australian Government has announced a new start date for Containers for Change but this has raised concerns from industry bodies that are calling to see a “comprehensive health and safety plan” before launch.
The McGowan Government has set the new start date as 1 October and has announced an assistance package of up to $3.5 million to support network participants impacted by the scheme’s deferral.
The assistance package aims to ensure network participants remain viable and to ensure the sustainability of the collection network.
The funding will be made available from 2 June until the scheme’s commencement.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, said: “An October launch date strikes the right balance between keeping people safe and ensuring the sustainability of the network.”
But LSA WA questions that, saying a launch date of 1 October “flies in the face of COVID-19 social restrictions and protocols”.
LSA WA CEO Peter Peck said the announcement came as a surprise to many stakeholders and that there had been no communication from the Department of Environment.
“One would think that the Department would have enough time to communicate its roadmap with its own industry and community advisory group,” Peck said.
“It’s hard to understand the rationale around the decision when the only notification we have received is a one page media statement from Minister Stephen Dawson.
“We will help as much as possible to ensure the scheme is successful in the long term but before anything begins we’d like to see a comprehensive health and safety plan in place before West Australians start handling old and used containers.
“We will be seeking an urgent briefing from the minister (although the horse has bolted) asking for some consultation to ensure our concerns are documented.”
Containers for Change had originally been set to launch in Western Australia on 2 June but a decision was made to defer the start date due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.