30 March 2020
AORA March News

We would like to welcome the following new Members to AORA
  • Sustain Paper
  • Martin Tower
  • Fia Balingat
  • Surya Bhattarai
  • Yarra Valley Water
  • Jennifer Hughes
  • Arup Australia PTY LTD.

From the National Executive Officer
My last column as AORA National Executive Officer, a month ago, may as well be from a different century. The world in which we live, in which our businesses operate, in which we interact with our families and friends, has changed at a fundamental level in those few weeks. We are seeing an economic and social shutdown at a magnitude not previously witnessed by anyone alive today. The costs at many levels are already immeasurable, and will likely continue to add up for months to come.
As your national representative association, the voice of our industry, AORA has already borne some of this pain. The AORA National Conference, which had been due to start this week, has been pushed back to November. Many smaller AORA events, especially at the State level, have also been deferred indefinitely. Like each of you in your businesses, we need to manage the impacts of this. That’s why we are doing cashflow projections, and cutting our cloth to suit: to prioritise the services our members need through this time, whilst also ensuring a healthy AORA emerges from the end of the COVID-19 crisis. This week, the AORA Board will review our National Strategy to ensure it is fit for purpose and achievable in these changed circumstances. We’ll be communicating more about this to you in the near future.
In the meantime, we don’t want to bombard you with bad news; there’s plenty of that around already. We will continue bringing you both our national and state based e-newsletters with a focus on good news from around Australia and globally about our industry, and how it is successfully meeting the challenges of the times.
Alongside that, we will also seek to inform you in a concise way about Government announcements which may affect your business, or provide new opportunities for you. For the first of these bulletins, please see below. As much as possible, we want to be a good and reliable partner for our members through this tough journey.
As always, don't heistate ton call or email me if you would like to discuss any issues, peter@aora.org.au or 0458 404 898.

Peter Olah
National Executive Officer

Last week, the Federal Government launched its Second COVID-19 Stimulus Package worth $66 billion. Amongst the many details were three announcements of relevance to AORA members:
Cash Flow Support for Employers
  • The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible SME employers (with annual turnover up to $50m), with a minimum payment of $20,000.
  • The payment is linked to your company’s wages bill through the taxes withheld during the year.
  • The assistance will be credited direct to your company’s bank account via the ATO, once your March BAS is lodged.
Financial Support for Businesses
  • The Government has established a Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to help SMEs access working capital. 
  • The Government will guarantee 50% of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs, unlocking $40 billion in finance to SMEs.
Regulatory Protection for Businesses
  • There will be more flexibility regarding creditor initiated insolvency and voluntary administration actions: the outstanding amounts limits go from $2,000 to $20,000, and time to respond from 21 days to 6 months.
  • Directors will be largely relieved of “trading insolvent” provisions over the next 6 months.
It is likely that the Federal Government will announce its Third COVID-19 Stimulus Package in coming days, which may well include direct wage subsidies to employers. We will provide an update if this occurs.
COVID-19 Legal Update for AORA Members
The impact of the Corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic is affecting many businesses and t he pandemic is raising legal issues for members’ businesses, so AORA asked Ross Fox and Jay Clowes of Fishburn Watson O'Brien to answer some of the most critical questions on the following topics;
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Reporting obligations
  • Contractual obligations
  • Potential insolvency.

Please login as a member on the AORA website to read this update.
De-packing for anaerobic domination

Australia’s annual food waste bill hit $10 billion in 2019, up from $8.9 billion the previous year. Despite ‘fault’ often being directed at primary production and manufacturing, consumers were the biggest food waste offenders: generating 34 per cent of the nation’s food waste in 2019. While the key to fighting food waste, and waste generally, is reduction, advancements in the waste-to-energy sector are highlighting anaerobic digestion and renewable energy opportunities.
South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2015-2020, for example, highlights anaerobic digestion as a cost-effective solution in areas without the feedstock levels required to sustain large-scale waste-to-energy operations. This is particularly pertinent for South Australia, which of all six states, has the second smallest population. 
In the absence of widespread consumer reduction, organics operators across the state are working to transform organic waste into energy and fertiliser, fostering a sustainable biofuel future. Peats Soil is one of those operators, which in addition to processing much of metropolitan Adelaide’s garden organics via council kerbside, collects food organics from hotels, supermarkets, schools, offices and manufactures.

Training Program for SA Processing Members
AORA SA Branch have received a Skilling South Australia Grant that will generate funding of approximately $5K per participant for a program of training to develop industry ready Composting Operators, with a level of skills attainment recognized nationally within the commercial composting industry.

A solid industry recognized qualification and industry work-placement are together priceless in providing foundational skills and a framework of thinking from which a young person’s career takes shape and which underpins best-practice operations for employers.

EPA VIC proceeding with new Environmental Law and legislation
In spite of the disruptions being caused by COVID-19, EPA Vic is signalling that it intends to proceed with the State’s new Environmental Law and its associated legislation on 01-07-2020.

There is an ongoing process of consultation with industry and associations, part of which has been the issue recently of draft communications intended to inform companies and individuals what is expected of them and of the EPA.

Detailed information will be issued by EPA in the near future but, in the meantime, we have been asked to share with you and invite your comments upon the following:

Please contact AORA Victoria Admin Officer, Doug Willson on 0419 531 335 or email , with any comments or questions regarding the EPA messaging so that we can continue to liaise closely with EPA Vic on your behalf.
AORA Conference Update
As you would be aware, we have postponed the AORA conference until 25-27 November 2020.

If you had a ticket for the Conference, it is automatically transferred to this date. If you have a date clash and are unable to attend, please contact us on conference@aora.org.au for a refund.

The program and arrangements for the conference remain in place at this stage.

Visit www.aoraconference.com.au to stay up to date with any further announcements.
Organics in the news
European Commission adopts Circular Economy Action Plan
Recently, the College of Commissioners of the European Union adopted the new Circular Economy Action Plan which should set a framework to reduce waste, deliver clean material loops, increase recycling capacity and get secondary raw materials market working.

NSW Government injects $24m into Kerbside FOGO
The NSW Government will provide the funding to support local councils and the alternative waste industry improve food and garden waste kerbside separation.

Ditching Plastic wrap for Compost
Winemaker inspired to make world first industrial compostable stretch wrapping.

Of interest
Composting Business Management
A BioCycle article series provides business tools to evaluate financial and nonfinancial factors related to starting, managing and growing composting facilities.

Farmers gain options for marketing soil health
As soil health takes on a higher profile with food companies and consumers, various avenues are emerging for farmers in the US heartland to collect environmental incentives.

Increasing Soil Organic Matter with Compost
A fact sheet from the US Composting Council

ACCC Adjudications
Final determination by ACCC in regards to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council joining the South Eastern Organics Group, to jointly procure organic waste processing services.
ACCC determination on Goulburn Valley Waste and Resource Recovery Group and eight local councils, seeking to jointly procure a range of waste and resource recovery services.
If you have a story, link or news to share with AORA members, please email Alex

Thank you to our Partners
AORA - Australian Organics Recycling Association
0434 625 472 | admin@aora.org.au