Warrnambool City Council and Deakin University partnership investigates waste management options

Momentum for a waste to energy facility in the south-west is growing thanks to a new partnership between Warrnambool City Council and Deakin University.

Warrnambool City chief Bruce Anson said ongoing investigations into how the region could improve waste management, including better ways of dealing with recyclables, had led to the project with the university’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures.

Mr Anson said Deakin would undertake research on the council’s behalf into next practice waste opportunities, with a particular focus on waste to energy.

Cr David Owen said the research would help find waste solutions that were suitable to the region.

“I feel we need to work with Deakin to research our waste opportunities that are more applicable to our regional and rural area,” he said.

“Whether it be a municipal recovery facility or a waste to energy plant, I’m sure the Warrnambool community would support the fact that we’re doing something about recycling and not sitting back and waiting for the state or federal government to find a solution.

“We may well find this research shows that Warrnambool has a strong case for funding from government to deliver an outcome for our community and perhaps the whole region.”

Cr Kylie Gaston said it was Warrnambool’s opportunity to be “proactive in this waste space”.

“It’s great that they (Deakin) are keen to increase research capabilities with industry in our region and community. Hopefully it will have environmental and economic benefits come back for all of us,” she said.

Tony Herbert said a conference with other Victorian councils last week showed how many were flummoxed by the current recycling crisis. 

“I think this is our opportunity now to partner with Deakin to take some affirmative action. I’m really proud that we’re going to do something about it and not just continue to be confused and talk about it,” he said.

Cr Peter Hulin said Warrnambool, like the rest of a country, was playing catch-up.

“Dealing with waste products affects everybody and I think that the fact that we haven’t been dealing well with it in the past is catching up with not only Warrnambool but Australia,” he said.

“In Europe they tend to separate things a lot more than we do and council and government puts the infrastructure in place so that people can take control of their own rubbish and do the right thing.

“I think working with Deakin is a good thing. We might get something really good out of this, I’m quite optimistic.”