Development, Environment & energy, Government and governance, Social policy | Australia, The World

30 August 2019

This week on Policy Forum Pod we take a look at the future of Australia’s waste management and recycling by exploring onshore and offshore processing solutions and by finding out what individuals and the government can do.

In 2017, China cracked down on foreign waste processing by banning the import of many recyclable materials. It was a move that created huge challenges for many countries across the world – including Australia – that had previously been dependent on China for their recycling. This decision has raised major concerns about the future of waste management. With insufficient onshore processing facilities, Australia urgently needs to resolve its waste woes. On this Policy Forum Pod, we hear from Leo Dobes, Esther Hughes and Ron Wainberg about the challenges presented by waste management and recycling, and how governments and individuals can tackle them. Listen here:

Presenters Paul Wyrwoll and Professor Sharon Bessell lead the discussion and tackle some of your questions and comments as well.

Leo Dobes is an Honorary Associate Professor of Crawford School and teaches a Masters course in Cost-Benefit Analysis. He worked almost 30 years in the Australian public service in many Senior Executive Service level roles.

Esther Hughes is an Environmental Consultant at MRA Consulting Group and the former Environmental Consultant to Blacktown City Council.

Ron Wainberg is the Technical Director of MRA Consulting Group and a fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is also a member of the International Solid Waste Association.

Sharon Bessell is the Director of the Children’s Policy Centre in Crawford School and the ANU lead on the Individual Deprivation Measure project. She currently teaches the courses Global Social Policy and Development Theories and Themes at Crawford School.

Paul Wyrwoll is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Climate and Energy Policy in the Crawford School, ANU. He is an environmental and resources economist who works on energy, water, and climate change.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

Most of us are hypocrites on climate change. Maybe that’s progress. (The Washington Post) – Kate Cohen

Scott Morrison doesn’t attend UN climate summit

Effects of China’s National Sword Policy

Australian federal government commits $20 million to recycling innovation

War on Waste (SBS TV show)

Slip! Slop! Slap! (Australian SunSmart Campaign)

Australia’s waste levies 

Democracy Sausage podcast: Boris Johnson and Brexit Britain

This episode has been produced by the team at Policy Forum, with executive production by Martyn Pearce, writing by Lydia Kim and Lilliana Cazabon-Mitchell, and editing by Branko Cvetojevic.

Policy Forum Pod is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherSubscribe on Android or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.

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