Product stewardship groups abolished; hazardous waste act simplified

THE federal government will abolish two product stewardship groups and streamline the Hazardous Waste Act as part of its Omnibus Repeal Day (Spring 2014) Bill.

Jacqueline Ong

The Bill brings forward a range of non-controversial measures to reduce regulatory burden for business, individuals and the community sector that are not the subject of individual stand-alone bills.

Product stewardship

Under the Bill, both the Product Stewardship Advisory Group (PSAG) and the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council (OSAC) will be abolished.

Moving forward, the Department of Environment will engage with stakeholders on an "as needs" basis.

The PSAG is responsible for the preparation of the annual list of classes of products to be considered for some form of accreditation or regulation under the Product Stewardship Act.

However, the government said: "the ongoing establishment of a permanent statutory body to perform this function is no longer justified.

Meanwhile, the functions of the OSAC are to provide advice to the minister on matters related to the Product Stewardship for Oil Scheme.

This includes advice on the product stewardship arrangements for oils, the recovery and recycling of used oils, the amount of product stewardship benefits and the state of the oil production and recycling industries.

The OSAC is required to meet at least once every 12 months and has, in the past, provided input into the reviews of the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act.

However, reviews occur at intervals of four years and given the frequency of OSAC meetings, the review process as well as the fact that the scheme is now well established with more than 10 years of operation, the government determined that the ongoing maintenance of a permanent statutory advisory body is not justified.

Hazardous waste

The Bill will also amend the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act, to streamline and simplify the permit application and decision processes, reduce delay costs to businesses and reduce the complexity of the Act.

This includes removing the duplication of the Basel Convention text in the Act and amending the transit proposal process of moving hazardous waste from one OECD country to another.

The requirement for the particulars of the export application to be specified in the regulations before a decision is made to grant a Basel export permit for final disposal will also be removed.

The Bill, explanatory memoranda and text of bill can be found here.