Hazardous Waste Technical Group
The following guidelines are to assist in consultation between the Minister and the Hazardous Waste Technical Group under Sections 58B, 58C, and 58D of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 ("the Act"). The Act states the following:
"Evidentiary certificate - classification of hazardous waste
Section 58B(1) The Minister may issue a written certificate stating that a specified substance or object is, or is not, in specified circumstances hazardous waste:
- for the purposes of the Act or;
- for the purposes of the application of the Act to a specified matter.
Evidentiary certificate - environmentally sound management of hazardous waste
Section 58C(1) The Minister may issue a written certificate stating that engaging in, or failing to engage, in specified conduct in relation to a specified hazardous waste is, or is not, environmentally sound management of that hazardous waste for the purpose of the Act."
Before issuing certificates under 58B and 58C; and before regulations are made for the purpose of paragraph (a) of the definition of hazardous waste in Section 4 as required by Section 58D, the Minister must convene a meeting of the Hazardous Waste Technical Group; and consult the members of the Group who are present at that meeting. In order to assist in these consultations, the Hazardous Waste Technical Group may be called upon:
- To advise on technical issues associated with the operation and interpretation of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989.
- To advise on technical issues associated with Australia's international obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (the Basel Convention), and any agreements or arrangements of the kind mentioned in Article 11 of the Basel Convention (Sections 58B & 58C).
- To advise on whether materials referred to the Technical Group come within the ambit of the Basel Convention definition of hazardous waste (Section 58B).
- To develop a process to determine whether a given material is a "waste" and if it is a waste whether it is "hazardous". The Technical Group will pay particular attention to the hazard to human health and the environment posed by certain types of wastes, for instance identifying levels of contamination by hazardous constituents in a waste which render it hazardous (Sections 58B & 58D).
- To advise on the preparation of the list of wastes to be included in an evidentiary certificate (Section 58B).
- To advise on the meaning of "environmentally sound management" of hazardous waste. This task will involve examining the transport, recovery and final disposal of hazardous wastes and, in particular, will involve assessing different waste recycling and management technologies. As with the characterisation of hazardous wastes, sound technical criteria need to be developed to enable import and export proposals to be assessed (Section 58C).
- To advise about the availability, the technical and economic feasibility, and environmental outcomes of domestic processes for the avoidance, minimisation and treatment of hazardous wastes proposed for export in accordance with the Basel Convention, and to advise on developments in waste avoidance and minimisation technologies (Section 58C).
- To advise about the environmental, occupational and public health and safety, social and economic implications of options proposed for the handling, processing and treatment of the hazardous waste and its residues, in Australia, in transit countries and in recipient countries when considering the export of hazardous waste in accordance with the Basel Convention (Section 58C).
- To contribute to the development of Australia's input on technical issues to international forums, including the OECD and Basel Convention (Section 58C).
The Group is comprised of eleven experts and generally meets monthly. The Group visit industrial facilities when necessary and invites presentations from industry on specific issues. The Group also prepares guidance documents for stakeholders which can be found on this web site or can be obtained from the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Minutes of the Technical Group Meetings are available for interested members of the public on this web site.
Under Section 58E(3) of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989
The Minister may determine:
(a) the manner in which the Hazardous Waste Technical Group is to perform its function; and
(b) the procedure to be followed at or in relation to meetings of the Group, including (but not limited to) matters with respect to:
(i) the number of members of the Group who are to constitute a quorum; and
(ii) the selection of a member of the Group to preside at meetings of the Group; and
(iii) the manner in which questions arising at a meeting of the Group are to be decided.
The following procedures apply:
(a) The Hazardous Waste Technical Group will normally perform its function through meetings. When it is not practical to convene a meeting, the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts may seek advice from the Technical Group by correspondence.
(Note: Sometimes a meeting must be held. Before the Minister may issue evidentiary certificates or prescribe certain hazardous wastes in regulations under the Act, the Minister must convene a meeting of the Hazardous Waste Technical Group and consult those members present.)
(b)(i) Five members of the Group shall constitute a quorum.
(ii) The Chair of the Technical Group is appointed by the Minister. In the absence of the chair, those members present may elect one of their number as chair.
(iii) Decisions will be reached by consensus. If no consensus can be reached, then majority and minority views will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Section 58E of the Hazardous Waste Act states that the Minister must establish a committee, to be known as the Hazardous Waste Technical Group, consisting of such persons as the Minister determines. Before appointing a person as a member of the Hazardous Waste Technical Group, the Minister must have regard to the person's expertise in, or experience of, matters relevant to the management of hazardous waste in their:
- scientific and/or technical aspects;
- social and/or economic aspects;
- environmental aspects; and
- public health and public safety aspects.
For further information in relation to the international movement of hazardous waste please contact:
Hazardous Waste Section
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
Phone: 1800 803 772
Fax: 02 6274 1164
You are welcome to call in and see us by appointment.